THE HUMAN LEAGUE - Octopus (1995) for Beebs
Artwork By [Concept] - Farrow , Human League, The/ Artwork By [Design] - Farrow /Artwork By [Image Manipulation] - Martin Lloyd /Engineer - Dave Dodd/ Engineer [Additional] - Pete Stewart/ Engineer [Assistant] - Scott Boyce/ Mixed By - Mark "Spike" Stent* (tracks: 2, 3, 5, 6, 9) /Mixed By [Assistant] - Ian Roberson (tracks: 2, 3, 5, 6, 9) /Photography - Kate Garner/ Producer - Ian Stanley/ Programmed By [Main Album] - Andy Gray , Ian Stanley , Philip Oakey/ Programmed By, Performer - Chris Hughes , Jo Callis , Neil Sutton , Paul Beckett , Russell Dennett/ Recorded By [Vocals] - Bob Kraushaar/ Written By - Ian Stanley (tracks: 2, 5, 6) , Paul Beckett (tracks: 1, 6, 9) , Philip Oakey (tracks: 1 to 9)
Recorded at The Human League from February to August 1994.Additional recording at Axis Studio, Sheffield.Mixed at Olympic, Nomis and Metropolis Studios, London in August and September 1994.
01 Tell Me When
02 These Are The Days
03 One Man In My Heart
05 Filling Up With Heaven
06 House Full Of Nothing
07 John Cleese: Is He Funny?
08 Never Again
09 Cruel Young Lover
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"Generally all of the Human Leaugue's albums grow and grow on you, however this in particualar stuns you even more on each listen. I was a little sceptical on my first hearing of this album concerning its lack of more 'commercial' sounding tracks after no 1 and 3. However this albums brilliance lies in the tracks that arent commercial. "These are the days" is a retro throw back to the mid 80s with very edgy ostinati and a driving beat. "Filling up with heaven" is truly genius of synth sounds. The ascending synth motif in it is surreal and the track is a testament to the human league's superiority. "Never again" ans "Cruel young lover" are both very good too, and are the 2 most growing tracks on the album. To top it all off, thus making it complete there's "tell me when" and "one man in my heart" both storming the charts in 95...ive actually got tell me when on a cassette compilation called smash hits 95! It is truly amazing. If you buy this it will grow and grow and grow, it incorporates everything the human league is about."
"The critics have been unkind to The Human League over the years since the release of the ground breaking album Dare in 1981. The music press rightly praised Dare when it was released as the European innovation that would combat the stale and pedestrian guitar driven rock from America. The subsequent album releases of the 80's failed to live up to Dare, and how could they? It wasn't until 1995 with the release of Octopus, that the critics finally began to give Phil and the girls some credit. The album opener Tell me When was a fine return to form with it's catchy analogue rifts that made it sound so fresh and unique. Thankfully, Octopus continues to dazzle the listener with one of the highlights These are The Days. A song which should have been the next single with a melody to kill for. Other highlights include the bass driven House full of Nothing and the modern techno/house epic Cruel Young Lover. The crisp production is every bit as clear as Dare, and Octopus represents the League's finest collection of songs in over 14 years. If you own a copy of Dare, you *have* to buy Octopus! It simply get's better with every listen. Secrets however, is the true follow-up to Dare but Octopus remains an impressive album."
"Octopus is indeed Human League's eighth album, following on from the much forgotten 1990 album Romantic? (no. 24 22.9.90). Crash was the last properly recognised album released in 1986 (no.7 20.9.86), produced as it was by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, at the height of Janet Jackson's Control debut. Crash however was sadly lacking in either spark or innovation, despite having two sublime tracks in Human and Love Is All That Matters.
Octopus however was a brand new start for the group marking both a new label and a new sleek and sophisticated image. First off the block was the sparkling bright pop of Tell Me When (which afforded them a welcome back to the Top Ten (no.6)) followed by the charming One Man In My Heart (no. 13) (mainly sung for a change by Susan and Joanne), both of which helped push the album to a no.6 position in the album charts.
Third single, Filling Up With Heaven failed to match the previous two singles, only reaching no.36 in the singles chart, despite being one of the albums better songs. The penultimate track, Never Again would have made a good choice for a single as it one of Octopus's little jems (track 8). A beautiful song, which could rank alongside Human, as one of the League's best love songs.
The remaining tracks, however, seemed to fail to push the album any further forward, despite the fact that they were full of trade mark harmonies, synthesisers, club bass lines and shuffling percussion/backing.
Whatever Octopus's slight deficiencies are, the album, although no masterpiece by any standard, is a must have if you are a fan of the new Human League. The overall feeling of the album being that it is a positive step in the right direction, one which will hopefully continue for some time to come.
Finally, you have to hand it to the group for dusting themselves down (every 5 years or so!) to come back out to play with the current pop tarts and trendy boy/girl bands. A truly class act."