Thompson Twins were another band from the early to mid 80s that pretty much completely passed me by. Of course I know some of their tunes by name like We Are Detective, Doctor! Doctor! and Hold Me Now, but as the interview with Tom Bailey on the sleeve notes says “ music was more tribal then” and synth pop really didn’t do it for me and the tribe I was hanging about with. I do also recall that the band was named after the Thompson and Thompson from the Tintin comics… funny how we remember snippets of information like that isn’t it.

This two CD set, out now on Cherry Pop, kicks off with Love on Your Side and so that’s another tune of the Twins I wasn’t aware that I knew. The sound is big and bold and it’s really no surprise that between 82 and 86 Thompson Twins sold a lot of records both at home and across the water in the US and perhaps it’ no surprise that I actually recognize a lot more of the tunes than the handful I named previously.

Of the 24 tracks (remastered from the original tapes) on this double CD six appear on CD for the very first time including In The Beginning (an early B-side), the 7” US single version of The Gap and the US remix of Lay Your Hands on Me.

Musically the Twins’ music varies from the upbeat hits such as Doctor! Doctor! to the more laidback and melancholy Long Goodbye and Sister Of Mercy, but there is always the feeling that you are listening to songs crafted for that early to mid-80s audience using the technology of that period. Listening to The Gap I’m reminded of the Steve Hillage album For To Next which is of course from around the same period (‘83)and it struck me that actually this kind of music isn’t quite the bubblegum, throwaway pop that I assumed it would be – there is intelligence and there’s social comment too at times like on the anti-heroin Don’t Mess with Doctor Dream, though it’s always done in a poppy, non-preachy and accessible kind of way.

Ok, Thompson Twins weren’t really high on my radar in their heyday, but their tunes have stood the test of time pretty well. Yes, the synths and sounds used are pretty much standard fodder for the year but the songs manage to stand up on their own. They’re catchy, infectiously toe tapping and actually I really don’t mind Thompson Twins so much at all.

This is pretty much an essential record if you are a fan of the Twins work, but it’s also a good record in its own right. There’s certainly nothing on here that I can say is utter pap and the musicianship and production is great, which when coupled with the well written and arranged tunes makes for an enjoyable record.

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