The great UK synthpop duo Soft Cell have broken up a couple of times, and they haven’t played a live show since 2004. But they’ll reunite for one show — which they’re calling their last ever — in London later this year.
Soft Cell formed in 1977, after singer Marc Almond and instrumentalist David Ball met at Leeds Polytechnic. One of their first singles was a stark, unforgiving, radically altered 1981 cover of Gloria Jones’ soul nugget “Tainted Love,” which Soft Cell turned into dramatic, minimal synthpop. Their version of the song topped singles charts in both the US and the UK, and it led to the release of the classic 1981 debut Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret, which produced a number of other UK hits.
Soft Cell released two more albums before breaking up in 1984. It’s a small miracle that their breathy, intense, intentionally sleazy sound — one that openly played with gay club culture and BDSM imagery — was as popular as it was in the UK. But they became something of an institution, with Almond going on to a successful solo album before reuniting Soft Cell in 2001 and releasing two more albums before breaking up, once again, in 2004. Almond has kept recording in the years since.
On the band’s website, they’ve announced that their final show will celebrate their 40th anniversary and that it’ll go down 9/30 at the O2 in London. Almond says, “With Soft Cell I always felt something was unfinished. This last ever final show will be the best ever ending. It will be a real statement and send off, and thank you to every fan.”