Released: May 20
Propaganda stars Claudia Brücken and Susanne Freytag reunite with producer Steve Lipson on their spectacular comeback LP ‘The Heart Is Strange’.
Marking their first album of original material in four decades, ‘The Heart Is Strange’ picks up where the group’s seminal 1985 effort ‘A Secret Wish’ left off, evoking the band’s classic sound while remaining slick and contemporary.
Strictly speaking, this isn’t a Propaganda album – 30 years after the demise of the group, Brücken and Freytag returned as xPropaganda and, after heading out on tour in support of Heaven 17, began working on tracks for the new LP.
Kicking off with the epic opener The Night, the album builds with sweeping electronic soundscapes, underpinned by strident beats and laced with expressive, passionate vocals that remain as evocative decades on.
Despite clocking in at eight tracks, ‘The Heart Is Strange’ packs a hefty punch, with more than half of the songs surpassing the five minute mark, making for a slow-burning collection that invites you to experience a world beyond the music.
Pre-release tracks Don’t (You Mess with Me) and Beauty Is The Truth breathe new life in the context of the album, while the smouldering, slow burner Chasing Utopia and stomping The Wolves Are Returning – a damning commentary on the refugee crisis – stand out on first listen.
The intense, obsessive No Ordinary Girl is as much a performance piece as it is a pop song and serves as a prime example of Brücken and Freytag’s impeccable storytelling through their music and vocals.
Returning with original music after an extended break is a risk for any act – not least of all for the former Propaganda stars, who crafted one of the finest synth-pop LPs of the 1980s before leaving the charts behind.
But decades on, they draw on the brilliance of ‘A Secret Wish’ once more and deliver an album that’s equally stunning and more than befitting of the group’s legacy.
‘The Heart Is Strange’ is available now.