The Human League – A Very British Synthesiser Group

Human League’s new singles anthology ‘A Very British Synthesiser Group’ is now on wax, but is it worth shelling out for? John Earls reports…

a very british synthesiser group


There’s a certain symmetry in the League releasing this extensive new singles anthology: it’s their ninth hits set and they’ve also released the same number of actual albums. In fairness, none of those previous comps have been quite so exhaustive as this 30-song set, which runs from 1978’s standalone Being Boiled to Sky from 2011’s under-rated Credo. Human and (Keep Feeling) Fascination are the extended versions, while eight others are radio edits. Mostly chronological, it’s another reminder of how perfectly formed the League’s singles invariably are.

However, it’s hugely annoying that, at £85, Universal seemingly didn’t give the slightest toss about attracting those who favour vinyl to the League’s world. Sure, the cartoon packaging and journalist David Buckley’s booklet essay are great. But a compilation that’s more expensive than some turntables and which doesn’t even include a download link to the extra 17 alternative mixes from the deluxe £40 CD version. The regular CD, with the same tracklisting as the vinyl, is just £12! As good as the more recent singles are, at this absurd price, you’re much better off scouring second-hand shops for one of the earlier hits compilations – there’s certainly plenty of them about – or the singles themselves Oh, and if the League could get a shift on with a new album, that’d be marvellous.