Book Of Love: S/T (1986)

Here's another one that got a ton of airplay back in my college radio days. Can't say I pull it out very often these days, the 80s production a bit too of its era, but it has a few songs that are still essential parts of any party mixtape, and as a whole does a nice job of capturing that synth-heavy post-disco nightclub sound.

As someone who doesn't listen to a lot of electronic dance music -- New Order is probably the closest I get, and because of that band's Joy Division post-punk roots, it never feels to me like "mere" dance music -- I can't say how this might stand up next to like-minded bands. I hear a bit of Yaz (Yazoo) in the mix, from singer-songwriter Susan Ottaviano's confident, sultry vocals to co-songwriter Ted Ottaviano's (apparently no relation?) keyboard hooks; though, despite a seemingly European feel (Depeche Mode was an early backer), they actually hail from Philadelphia.

Initial single "Boy" remains the centerpiece, with its gender politics, a killer beat, and a swirl of infectious synths. While the whole album screams eighties, the song feels timeless, as fresh today as it was on first listen. A few other tracks are nearly as great: "Modigliani (Lost In Your Eyes)" is stellar new wave pop, while "I Touch Roses" tosses in a bit of (simulated?) guitar electricity, adding some edge to the mix. A bit of goth darkness slips into a few tracks, like the moody "Lost Souls," sounding like a hybrid of Cocteau Twins and New Order.

The CD reissue adds a few nifty alternative versions; while the compilation MMXVI cherry-picks the highlights from the debut and the three like-minded follow-up albums.

Here's the video for "Boy":
Here's a performance of "Modigliani":
...and "Roses":