Aug 2013 07

Mechanical Cabaret - Selective HearingMechanical Cabaret
Category: Electro / Synthpop
Album: Selective Hearing
Stars: 4
Blurb: A superb collection showcasing Mechanical Cabaret’s best tracks as well as a sinister and beautiful new song.


For those who have been fans of Mechanical Cabaret for a while, this collection will not feel all that new to you. However, if you’re a little late joining the party and want to know why you should listen to Mechanical Cabaret, Selective Hearing is the perfect place to start. This London based electro act released its first album in 2002, titled We Have An Agenda, but first found true exposure on the Gypsy 83 movie soundtrack in 2001 with the song “Nothing Special.” With aggressive synths and steady beats, this track falls more into the industrial than electro category like most of the act’s other tracks. As a result of this song, fans of the movie flocked to pick up the movie’s soundtrack as well as Mechanical Cabaret’s debut album. 11 years later, this song is the opening track on this “best of” collection.

Since then, the two-man band consisting of Roi Robertson (vocals, synths) and Steve Bellamy (synthesizers, engineering) may have not been able to duplicate the success of that track, but the albums, EPs, and remixes since then are nothing short of respectable. “See Her Smile” and “Cheap and Nasty” truly embody Mechanical Cabaret’s captivating rhythm and punchy beat. But on “Blank Canvas,” you’re reintroduced to the band’s punk side. Its simplistic beats and whirring synths resemble “Warm Leatherette” by The Normal, but with better vocals. Then the band returns to its electro/industrial roots with “Disbehave.” Just within the first five tracks, listeners encounter an amazing array of electro elements. Meanwhile, “Don’t Murder Me I’m Drowning” slows the album down in a beautifully depressing way; again, showing another element of the Mechanical Cabaret experience. The rest of the songs on the collection don’t necessarily feel or sound like radio or single material, but there are very strong and impactful songs. They may not fit the mainstream musically, which doesn’t matter. The songs are well composed, lyrically diverse, and the vocals suit the songs. Selective Hearing wraps up with Mechanical Cabaret’s first new song since 2009, “Why So Serious?” Does it have a Batman reference? Yes, but the entire lyrical content is made up of fictional character and superhero metaphors. Musically, it’s dark and lovely. One could confuse it for a better Depeche Mode song from the ‘80s with a goth flare.

If you purchase the CD version of Selective Hearing, you are privy to 12 additional tracks that are all remixes. Is the bonus download worth the extra cost? Absolutely. The 12 remixes make up a perfect party mix and could be a DJ’s best friend in a pinch. The unique reconfiguration of the original tracks makes this bonus album a new and exciting experience for those who have been hearing the originals for a while.

Overall, this album is a must own for electro enthusiasts who do not have any of Mechanical Cabaret’s previous discography. If you’re already a fan, I’d suggest just purchasing “Why So Serious?” by itself. It’s worth more than the dollar you’ll probably pay for it.
Track list:
Disc 1

  1. Nothing Special
  2. See Her Smile
  3. Cheap and Nasty
  4. Blank Canvas
  5. Disbehave
  6. Don’t Murder Me I’m Drowning
  7. GBH
  8. Pretty Fucked Up
  9. Careful Careless
  10. Ne Plus Ultra
  11. In Loving Memory
  12. Why So Serious?

Disc 2

  1. Why So Serious? (12″ Extended Mix)
  2. GBH (Real Horrorshow Remix)
  3. See Her Smile (Radiophonic Mix)
  4. Disbekomputer (Disbehave Remix by Komputer)
  5. Careful, Careless (Fur Coat No Knickers Mix)
  6. Ne Plus Ultra Exquisitely Extended Mix
  7. Cheap and Nasty (Nag Nag Nag Remix by Atomizer)
  8. In Loving Memory (Steve Bellamy Remix)
  9. My Sex Life (Electrogogo Mix)
  10. GBH (Deutsche)
  11. Disbehave (ASBO Mix by Mesh)
  12. When We Go We Go Together (Lupin & Tonks Version)

Mechanical Cabaret Website
Mechanical Cabaret Facebook
Mechanical Cabaret Twitter
Mechanical Cabaret ReverbNation
WTII Records Website
WTII Records MySpace
WTII Records Facebook
WTII Records Twitter
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Grant V. Ziegler (GVZ)


  1. Damian G. says:

    It’s a great introductory collection before their new album hits shelves but I’m not so sure about ‘Why So Serious’. It’s a solid track but the humour of the lyrics did not strike a chord with me.

    • Grant Ziegler says:

      Hey Damian,

      Thanks for reading. I’m not sure I perceived the lyrics to be humorous honestly. It seemed like they may be tongue-in-cheek at times, but to my ears it didn’t sound like intentional humor. I do think the lyrical direction on this track strayed from the usual path, which may have thrown some people off. I enjoyed the new track though.

      Thanks again for your feedback!

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