Cabaret Voltaire - The Crackdown

For the melomaniac. Feel free to talk about all music, popular and unpopular! It's all welcome here: from Al Bowlly to Cabaret Voltaire.
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Cabaret Voltaire - The Crackdown

Post by sharoma »

In my post reviewing early Depeche Mode albums I stated that I thought Construction Time Again was superior to Cabaret Voltaire’s The Crackdown. I had already been thinking, “Did CTA deserve 10/10?” and I still think yes, it did. When I rate albums it is not only in the context of the whole of popular music in general and my personal preferences for music and production styles. It’s also how that albums rates within that artist’s discography. Additionally, should artists contemporaneous to each other and similar in style be rated more closely than ones that aren’t? For example, it surely makes more sense to compare Construction Time Again and The Crackdown (both are English synth-pop/electronic/industrial albums released in 1983) than Construction Time Again and anything from a later period and different genre.

I discovered The Crackdown after purchasing it and Micro-Phonies from the main HMV in Manchester in 2003, a year after first getting into the band. They were both CDs from before the remaster era began. That means that although they may have been pressed and printed not long before I bought them, they looked to be early ‘90s (artwork, CD style) and sounded even earlier. For 1980s mastering, they are great. Zero distortion but not too quiet or flat sounding. Later on I bought The Crackdown LP as the artwork was different. It was used and crackly, but still sounded decent. I paid no more than a pound.

Recently I have been listening to The Crackdown again, this time on a cassette featuring Micro-Phonies on the B-side. I didn’t acquire a remastering. I simply recorded the FLAC rips of the aforementioned CDs. On a Type II cassette they cannot be distinguished from the CDs in any significant way involving quality or enjoyment.

I still think The Crackdown is an excellent album and that it also deserves 10/10. I won’t go back and edit my Depeche Mode post, even though so many 10/10s seems to devalue them somewhat. However, anyone who knows me has probably at some point in our relationship jokingly accused me of ‘hating everything’. These posts are a response to that; when I love something, I really do! Even though I may rate lots of music with lower scores, occasionally full marks shine through. It also makes sense that these are the albums I would write about first.

The Crackdown is the peak of Cabaret Voltaire. What comes before and after also shines with brilliance. It’s here that it forms a perfect album without a weak track. Another one of those journeys you don’t mind taking over and over. Since I rate both this and CTA 10/10, the question remains: which of them is best? Now, I think it's The Crackdown!
Robin Sharrock
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