The 1981 release of the Soft Cell debut album Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret remains a benchmark in the annals of synthpop and underground electronic music, showcasing the duo’s blend of darkly tinted electronics, post-punk attitude, and danceable pop. Now, the album is being given a super deluxe treatment with a new six-disc collection spanning 98 tracks, over 40 of which are previously unreleased. Originally created on a limited budget with some of the equipment borrowed from other artists, the album is chiefly remembered for the cover of the Ed Cobb-penned Gloria Jones song “Tainted Love,” as well as other underground staples like “Secret Life,” “Bedsitter,” and “Sex Dwarf,” the latter of which stirred controversy for its music video’s depictions of S&M; “I never felt it was political at the time,” states Soft Cell’s Marc Almond, “but it seems it now. Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret was the secret seedy life that went on behind the mask of conservative Britain.” He goes on to say that the record “tells a story of a bored ordinary bloke seething with his life, wanting more and looking for excitement and adventure in a red neon-lit Soho world of red-light cabarets, prostitutes, and sex dwarves, looking back at his youth and wondering what happened.” Bandmate Dave Ball adds that the album represents Soft Cell’s “pop period,” having gone in darker directions on subsequent releases; he states that making the record was “All very weird and extreme, from living in a council flat and suddenly you’re flying on Concorde to New York.”
The new edition was remastered in 2023 by Barry Grint, and includes the A- and B-side singles in their original 7-inch forms, including “Memorabilia,” produced by Mute founder Daniel Miller. Also featured is a 12-inch mix comprised of Ball’s studio reworkings from 2018, remixes, BBC studio, TV, and radio sessions, demos, outtakes, as well as an instrumental mix of the album, and live cuts from 2018 and 2021. The package also features new interviews with Almond and Ball, full lyrics, contemporary photos, and an essay by Adrian Thrills. Due for release on October 20 via Mercury/Universal, pre-orders for the super deluxe edition of Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret are available now via The Sound of Vinyl and the Soft Cell webstore, including the six-CD set, two-LP standard gatefold vinyl, and an exclusive two-LP blue and yellow vinyl.
July 28 of this year saw the release of Soft Cell’s Happiness Now Completed, a supplement to 2022’s Happiness Not Included.