What: Suicide (The Second Album)
When: March 1980
The Second Album by Suicide is absolutely essential. It’s daring, stunning, and beautiful, Alan Vega and Martin Rev have worked hard on this, and we find the pair on excellent form.
From the start, Diamonds, Fur Coat, Champagne, Suicide are in a strange mood, one that is decidedly sweeter, and not too far removed from the tones one might expect from Gary Numan, New Order or Depeche Mode.
Some tracks seem to glisten with a sexy sweat, others immediately change in the light, making that sweat seem unhinged and hateful. Touch Me sexily invites you to do just that, but Dance is dark and menacing, which of course means it’s bloody brilliant, and showcases a lot of these guys’ skills as innovators and creators of an entire subculture, going some way to demonstrate just how important this band is.
My first introduction to Suicide was hearing about the series of covers commissioned for singer, Alan Vega’s 70th birthday, and track three, Sweetheart is one I’d already heard, thanks to the (frankly quite good in itself) cover by Klaxons. It’s a wonderfully sweet and tender ballad, which is a rare moment of prettiness on the record, Suicide are many things, but pretty rarely comes to mind.
Unsurprisingly, I suppose, I like this band. I really like this band. I can hear the elements which have been taken on by my favourite band (oh Miranda’s on her hobby horse again, she’s gonna start talking about the Horrors. Yes I am. Deal with it.) Shadazz (Recently covered by the Horrors, as part of the same covers series) takes on a delightful, glitchy optimism, making me feel like LITERALLY jumping for joy. Dream Baby Dream displays itself as an unlikely (or perhaps not so unlikely) reference point for the Horrors’ track You Could Never Tell, the hallmarks are remarkably similar, and it’s another pretty joy to listen to. These moments really show a band at a point of real development, creating a fully formed album that shows off their respective talents as songwriters to it’s full extent.
This album is one of the first to really grasp with both hands the potential of synthesizers to create gorgeous melodic pop songs, and it’s truly stunning. These two men take the very small number of instruments, just synths, a drum machine and vocals, and made them into something beautiful. Don’t believe me? Just ask any band from the past 30 years with a synthesizer.