Sunday, August 28th, 2011
"Don't You Want Me"/"Human"
Future Bible Heroes and The 6ths with Lloyd Cole cover The Human League
WikipediaIt’s no error that the just-released Obscurities collection of rarities and ephemera came out credited to Stephin Merritt, considering that it drew material from all of many projects such as The Magnetic Fields, Future Bible Heroes, Gothic Archies or The 6ths in addition to works released under his own name. And considering how prolific Merritt is, it’s also no surprise that a lot of material that would have qualified for inclusion got left out – gotta keep something in reserve for the multi-volume box set, after all.
One credit on his vast resume that would require some extra liner notes would be Reproductions, a 2001 tribute album to British synth-pop pioneers The Human League, which he produced and appeared on thrice – once as Stephin Merritt credit “covering” a 30-second instrumental, once as Future Bible Heroes and once as The 6ths, both of those covering some of the Human League’s biggest hits but also with Merritt taking a backseat as the mandate of those projects dictated. On the former, it’s Claudia Gonson taking Joanne Catherall and Susan Ann Sulley’s parts while Merritt naturally stands in for Philip Oakey. On the latter, it’s Commotions frontman Lloyd Cole playing mandatory guest vocalist and handling Oakey’s leads while Merritt takes over Catherall’s parts in the bridge. He’s nothing if not versatile.
Obscurities marks Merritt’s return to Merge Records, for whom he’ll be recording the next Magnetic Fields record, due out next year. Lloyd Cole’s last solo album Broken Record came out last Fall and he toured it through North America earlier this Summer. Despite being synonymous with the ’80s, The Human League never stopped releasing albums, though their latest Credo is only their second in sixteen years. It’s still excuse enough for their first North American tour in who knows how long – they’ll be at The Guvernment in Toronto on September 18; Examiner.com has an interview with Oakey.