British synthpop duo Soft Cell have today unveiled their first new track in 17 years. Singer Marc Almond revealed the track, entitled Northern Lights, on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Two this morning.
Talking to host Evans, Almond said the song pays homage to the band’s northern roots.
Almond met bandmate Dave Ball at Leeds Polytechnic in northern England in the late 1970s. They subsequently formed Soft Cell.
The duo had a global smash with their cover of the Gloria Jones northern soul song, Tainted Love, in 1981. They went on to have ten top 40 hits in the UK and released four albums between 1981-84.
They reformed briefly in 2001 to release new material. Almond has enjoyed a successful solo career in the intervening years, including a UK number one in 1989 with a cover of Something’s Gotten Hold of My Heart.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of their first gig, the duo have reformed and will play a one-off Soft Cell concert at the O2 in London next month. They are also releasing a ten-disc career retrospective.
‘We didn’t have plans to do new music,’ Almond told Evans about the new material. ‘Dave sent me a couple of tunes and asked “What do you think of these?”
Northern Lights is an atmospheric but hook-laden slice of classic synth-pop which features some of Almond’s trademark kitchen sink drama lyrics (‘What do you think I do all night? Sit here catching up on soaps?’).
The track will be available to download from tonight at midnight. A CD, double-A side package will go on sale 28 August, featuring second new track, Guilty (Cos I Say You Are).
Almond also revealed that the 30 September concert at the O2 will also be screened live in selected UK cinemas.
News of new Soft Cell material comes just a month after Boy George and Culture Club, another huge band from the 80s, revealed their first new track in 20 years.