Music Review: The Danse Society, Seduction: The Society Collection

Published on July 25th, 2014 in: Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, Reissues, Reviews |

By Less Lee Moore

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If all you’ve ever heard from The Danse Society was their excellent 1985 single “Say It Again,” congratulations! You and I have something in common. It was with curiosity and anticipation that I decided to review Seduction: The Society Collection, and I was both surprised and pleased.

It must be said that none of these songs sound anything like “Say It Again” so if you’re hoping for more of the same, Seduction is not the album for you. However, if you’re looking for some insight into where The Danse Society came from, you’ve come to the right place. Seduction is a compilation of the band’s 1982 album of the same name plus several early singles (1980 – 83), all originally released on their own independent imprint Society Records. It also includes a detailed discography and a terrific essay from keyboard player Lyndon Scarfe that describes the early history of the band.

The songs on this disc show off what made The Danse Society so unique: Tim Wright’s exquisitely heavy bass; Paul Gilmartin’s rapid-fire drumming; Paul Nash’s piercing, moody guitar; Lyndon Scarfe’s creepy keyboards; and Steve Rawling’s flat, almost sardonic vocals.

While every song is great, my least favorites are the somewhat grating “We’re So Happy” with its draggy verses and the catchy but terribly corny “My Heart.” Yet the best songs on Seduction are enjoyable enough to counteract the weakest tracks. “Woman’s Own” features a wonderfully creepy synth line and chanted vocals, while the Siouxsie and the Banshees-style bass line in “Belief” is outstanding, as are the clever, biting lyrics. Stark piano opens “In Heaven (Everything Is Fine)” and gives way to reverby guitar, occasional drumbeats, and quiet, sparse vocals, all of which coalesce into something akin to a longer, more emotive version of Bauhaus’s “Who Killed Mr. Moonlight?” “Somewhere” brings together all of the best elements of The Danse Society’s style and includes a lovely, haunting melody.

For completists, Seduction: The Society Collection is essential. Those who are looking for the roots of the current resurgence in popularity of post-punk, proto-Goth music will certainly be thrilled with these tracks.

Seduction: The Society Collection was repressed by Cherry Red Records on April 7.

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