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.
It’s all about referencing the past with an eye to the future. Lost In Static has the deftness of touch of Simple Minds’ best work, while Simon’s jangling guitar recalls the arpeggiated riffs of original Visage guitarist John McGeoch. She’s Electric even uses the same drum machine part that opened Fade To Grey and On We Go has the synth shudder of Vienna. With a sleeve by Peter Ashworth, this reunion album’s left nothing to chance. Hearts And Knives sounds as if it were the follow-up to The Anvil.