Melody Maker : 10 November 1984


From the propaganda that's been circulating concerning SPK, we've been led to expect some sensitive synthesis of The Human League and Test Dept, a metal-bashing Dollar, tincan(ny) revolutionaries with pure pop hearts.
From its industrial art deco cover, hideously concocted title and fashionably elegant photo depicting the dignity of labour (fake filth so tastefully smeared on glistening biceps - very "Mad Max II"), it's pretty blatant that "Machine Age Voodoo" is an insult to the intelligence, an ad-man's idea of what the kids want. Brandishing buzz words like confetti, it's all image and no imagination, a pathetic product.
It's not only that SPK's trumped-up disco thrash exposes them as frauds, their junk-battering just a gimmick to disguise a shocking paucity of inspiration, but such phrases as "High technology voodoo", "Shape the soul of industry", "Kill your sacred cows and drown in images of wealth" and, best laugh of all, "The politics of camoflague" actually mean sod all.
SPK are a fake, rather sheepishly recalling Hazel O'Conner's embarrassing "Breaking Glass" and never once hinting at any new or vital Eighties aesthetic. Their vision of the future, absurdly intoned in an affected manner by the sultry Sinan, is nothing but an old-fashioned hangover, a glut of cliches from Fritz Lang's "Metropolis". Why a monochrome silent film some half-century old should continue to colour our lazy perception of man's destiny is as much a mystery to me as our abiding homage to Orwell's unspeakably dull "1984".
SPK are mixing pink gins and passing them off as molotovs. Depeche Mode have cornered the market on this particular cross-over, Frankie have stolen all the electro-shock thunder and Bucks Fizz beat them to Eurovision, so already SPK are too late for the future.
Their horrorscope is ludicrous. They'll never ever be stars.

Steve Sutherland 

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