They say what goes around comes around, and the new Visage album sounds like the past 30 years failed to happen. Steve Strange is back and Hearts And Knives is a supremely engaging diversion, a credible addition to Visage’s slender catalogue. With long-time contributor Steve Barnacle, original Ultravox! guitarist Robin Simon, new vocalist Lauren Duvall, guests Dave Formula from Magazine and original Simple Minds keyboard player Mick Macneill, the album was recorded on pre-1985 equipment. And, considering all that he’s been through, Strange’s voice still sounds relatively angelic.
We were just giving this Visage remix album a spin when the Bowie Event happened and everything got interrupted as that particular star went nova. Now that the smoke and dust has cleared, where were we six months ago exactly? Oh yes. Just weeks after the release of the compelling “Demons To Diamonds” album, Visage shocked by releasing a remixed version of that album in lieu of any singles since the lead singer’s unexpected death in February of 2015. This is significant because the brace of singles that the band released from their previous album, “Hearts + Knives” were a run of the best remixes/B-sides I’d heard in decades! How many bands had managed a similar feat in the 21st century with six physical singles; each packed with amazing, filler-free mixes and tracks? ￼￼The remix album sported a new title and a re-colored design that was only slightly different from the original album with more vivid and saturated colors replacing the muted palette of the original “Demons To Diamonds.” The track order here was considerably different from the original listing, and when I played it back, it didn’t seem unduly jarring, so well enough, then.