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Soul Mining

The The

1983

Buy At Rough Trade
Soul Mining
Album Summary

Soul Mining is the debut album by British post-punk/synth-pop band the The (the 1981 album Burning Blue Soul was originally released by the band's frontman Matt Johnson as a solo album, but later reissues credited it to the The). After a bidding war between major record labels which resulted in the group signing with CBS Records, Johnson began recording the album in New York City, but the initial recording sessions were aborted after the album's first two singles and Johnson returned to London where he wrote and recorded the rest of the record. Musically, Soul Mining is a post-punk and synth-pop album with influences of the early 1980s New York club scene, while Johnson's lyrics focus on relationship insecurities and social alienation, with imagery derived from dreams. Soul Mining was released in the United Kingdom on 21 October 1983 on Some Bizzare Records/Epic Records and included versions of the singles "Uncertain Smile", "Perfect", and "This Is the Day". Although the album received positive reviews, its initial sales were modest, reaching number 27 in the UK and charting in a number of other countries, but in 2019 the album was certified gold in the UK. Soul Mining was reissued in June 2014 as a two-disc 30th anniversary deluxe version on vinyl, attracting retrospective reviews which universally praised the record, with critics describing it as both Johnson's best work and one of the best albums of the 1980s.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.18

Votes

11108
Genres
New Wave
Post Punk

Reviews

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Sat Feb 06 2021
5

Shades of poppy, industrial, and folksy. The piano solo in Uncertain Smile one amazing moment in an album fill of them. This Aussie gives Soul Mining five shit hot burgers from Hungry Jack's out of five

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Thu Jan 21 2021
5

I've always liked The The, but only knew "This is the Day". This album did not disappoint, there's a lot of gems here, and some jammy drawn out songs, which I always enjoy!

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Thu Feb 04 2021
5

Highlights - This Is The Day, Uncertain Smile. This album is magical from start to finish, though the opening track (I've been Waitin' for Tomorrow) is a bit tough to get through...it's long and meandering, almost pointless as verses stretch a little to far...and that's the whole point...It's the price of admission to a goofy, introspective trip that is sure to delight.

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Fri Apr 29 2022
5

I could say I've been waiting for this album all of my life, but that would be lying. But only because I've had it for so long! (What a song, though!) I love The The: for the lyrics that seem to have been written by me (the version of me that can write) and about me, as well as for the creative music (those solos in Uncertain Smile or Giant). Most of all, it's probably the insight gained from someone (Matt Johnson) whose view of the world seems so similar to mine. It's hard for me to convey, but it really does feel like songs written about my most intimate thoughts and experiences. You could argue I grew up with this album. I'd argue it's a hell of an album to grow up with.

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Fri Jul 23 2021
5

Boy, the chorus for "This is the Day" sure hits different when it's not being taken out of context to sell you a car or whatever the commercial I recognize it from was shilling. Tears for Fears already made me a sucker for downer lyrics over upbeat music, and this miserable motherfucker is just full of energy. Perfectly paced, too; day lyrically turns to night to mark the end of the first side and continues in the following song, priming you for the title track's sparse, lethargic sound. I liked the album enough to opt into the bonus track included on the CD version (tacked on unbeknownst to frontman Matt Johnson), which turned out to be a mistake, as one more introspective song is the exact amount needed to go from "cohesive album about isolation and stagnation" to "get over yourself." Frontman Matt Johnson insisted on its removal in future releases. Good call. Key Tracks: I've Been Waitin' for Tomorrow (All of My Life), Soul Mining, Giant

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Fri May 20 2022
5

I was blown away by this record when I first heard it in college radio days in the mid-to-late ‘80s and I’m even more impressed at how well it’s stood up. Soul Mining avoids all the excess and cliche of the era. It’s dramatic and cinematic; new wave-y, but not self-consciously so; it’s politically committed and serious-minded, but not humorless; it’s emotionally rich and balanced and musically intriguing. “This Is the Day” is a first-rate pop song and “Uncertain Smile” a higher-order musical event, truly one for the ages with an all-time great piano solo (I ran right for the extended 9+ minute mix after hearing it here for the first time in ages). “The Twilight Hour” and “Giant” are also hugely engaging and very impressive tracks (but generally, little-known). So good, with bonus points for reconnecting me to my youth.

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Tue Mar 16 2021
5

This is fantastic. How have I never heard this before? Incredible synth pop/new wave throughout.

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Fri May 14 2021
5

A classic, sounds better with time

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Sun May 08 2022
5

Now THIS is some delicious 80's cheese. Fun, boppin, synthy, even atmospheric at times. Just jammed with jams.

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Tue May 10 2022
5

Fucking brilliant! The The are criminally underrated and unknown, but they deserve so much more recognition for their powerful, innovative, unique music. This album in particular is a true standout gem of the 80's. It is daring and experimental but also pop as hell somehow. This Is The Day is a heartbreakingly beautiful song; the sentiments expressed in it are both sadly nostalgic and willfully optimistic at the same time. It speaks directly to my soul and calls up an exquisite ache that I'm addicted to. I adore that rich contrast in tone and meaning all of these songs seem to have. This album is endlessly listenable, I get something new from it every time I put it on. It challenges the listener, but it also excites and inspires too. It's just so fucking good, I love it!

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Thu Dec 17 2020
4

Man, this is some seriously angsty shit. I hope this guy finds what he's looking for. In the meantime, I'm going to recommend that he stay away from drugs. Best track: Uncertain Smile

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Thu Jul 01 2021
4

This is the kind of album absolutely surprising! I don't know the band, I never listened to anything from them, The name was strange, the first song is catchy but not so special, but when the album ends it looks like something different happened. What I listened here? A simple post-punk album? Why this band is so underground? More people should listen to it. Well, for me it's something that I'll sure listen to again in the future and hope that more people know it

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Mon Dec 13 2021
1

Grooves as flat, hooks as ignorable, instrumentals as uninspiring, and weirdo vocals as amateurish as the last one. Only thing that's changed is I'm getting the sense he's a bit of a curmudgeon, which makes me even less favourable.

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Sat Feb 06 2021
5

I really love this record, and every song brings something unique and amazing. The first two songs are an absolute banger back2back. A true gem that I'd never have listened to otherwise.

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Wed Jun 22 2022
5

Stronger than the followup musically, though I prefer that record's lyrical themes. Those on display here aren't camp, though I'm tempted to use that word; There's a definite theater taste, coming I assume out of the New York influence. The instrumentation is all over the place: Violin, even electric, gets its obligatory shoutout and the record comes together as it arises and fades back into fuzz muck.

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Mon Mar 14 2022
4

"I'm just a symptom of the moral decay that's gnawing at the heart of the country." It absolutely should not be a catchy line to sing along with... but it is. It forms the heart of "The Sinking Feeling", a typically nihilistic song by Matt Johnson. The The's debut album scorches through its runtime with a mixture of bitter irony and honest despair. While lyrically dark and dense, the music is upbeat, catchy and even euphoric. "This Is The Day" is a world-class song: it's a work of soaring cynicism that wields a bright and cheerful accordion hook like a plastic umbrella in a cocktail of bourbon and broken glass. Elsewhere, "Waiting for Tomorrow (All of My Life)" summarises the mid 20's angst at the heart of the record's philosophy, with a glorious bassline to boot. "Uncertain Smile" treated the world to a virtuosic three minute Jools Holland piano solo, while everyone was still lucky enough not to know what a Hootenanny was. While "Soul Mining" and "The Twilight Hour" bring the pace down slightly too far into maudlin navel-gazing, "Giant" more than makes up for it. Nine and a half minutes with just four chords and limited words, but its a masterclass in pacing. Its lengthy outro presents a repeeated "yeah yeah yeah" chant and an elephantine wall of percussion, which lead the way in a reprisal of each layer of sound. It's "Hey Jude" for the twisted post-punk generation... and its wonderful.

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Sat Mar 27 2021
3

Although The The's first album barely hinted at the experimentalism of later records like Infected and Mind Bomb, Matt Johnson crafted a pleasant set of dance-pop on the group's Soul Mining debut.

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Fri Mar 22 2024
3

Better than I expected, but not as good as your reviews make it out to be.

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Mon Mar 25 2024
3

So many familiar but unknown tracks. OK, so uncertain smile is legit a great track. Giant is overindulgently long. 9+ minutes of a 41 minute album, it should be better to justify ¼ of the running time - but it is repetitive to the point of distraction and genuinely serves as a demerit to the album.

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Tue Mar 26 2024
3

One of the most mixed bags we’ve seen. Some very high highs. But those highs are mere seconds long, an instrumentation choice, or a quick melody. But the total package is a bit too variable.

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Fri Mar 29 2024
3

It sort of reminds me of a less dark early Depeche Mode. On the whole, not a bad album.

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Fri Mar 29 2024
3

If I hadn’t been told, I would think this was David Bowie. I would love to hear these songs covered by modern bands because i just can’t get over the 80s synth sound.

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Wed Apr 17 2024
3

Hmm that was interesting. I liked the more discordant songs. Heard of these guys but never heard them before. Not engaging enough to fully win me over but it was pleasing enough. 3 stars

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Sun Apr 14 2024
2

I’ve always wondered what The The sounded like since I saw a cassette on someone’s shelf at a Halloween Party my sister took me to when I was a kid. It’s fine. Kinda quirky new wave. I don’t quite see what’s so special about it that nearly every review is 5 stars though. I give it a high 2.

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Sun Aug 01 2021
5

Excelente disco. Tiene un sonido potente y sus varios moods equilibrados. Mis favs: "This Is The Day", "Uncertain Smile" y "Giant". 10/10

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Sun Aug 01 2021
5

Otro de mis discos favoritos. Cima del pop.

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Fri Sep 03 2021
5

Cool sound! Sounds like it could be the inspiration for modern punk sound.

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Tue Nov 02 2021
5

Where's this been all my life?!?!?!

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Tue Dec 28 2021
5

This album is awesome. Is it post-punk? Industrial? I don't know but I love it. Some tracks are sparse and minimalist. Others are a waterfall of sound.

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Sat Feb 05 2022
5

A true gem. This album is the best of New wave. Great lyrics too. A must listen

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Tue Feb 08 2022
5

Very cool and ahead of it's time. Less kitschy than Gary Newman.

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Fri Mar 11 2022
5

Lyrics are nice. The sound is kind of slouchy and sleepy. Idk. I'm new to this so I will give it more time to settle in.

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Sat Apr 23 2022
5

Great synth rock vibes on this one

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Wed Jun 22 2022
5

The perfect The The album, still like it very much. Just noticed that some months ago for some reason I rated Infected with only three stars. I have now listened to that album again as well and am surprised. I still think it is not as good as Soul Mining but I should have given that album four stars.

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Fri Aug 05 2022
5

First time listening to this band - liked it nice clear vocals but billy bragg meets pop - more please

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Sat Aug 27 2022
5

Classic 80's sound but somehow futuristic with some synthwave vibes. Easy to pickup and loads of replayability. Superb

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Wed Aug 31 2022
5

Awesome from start to finish!

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Thu Sep 29 2022
5

Very different than what I have heard, and the opening song was not my favorite, but everything else was amazing.

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Thu Oct 06 2022
5

Like if Bowie leaned hard into post-punk. I really liked it.

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Tue Oct 18 2022
5

Has to be a 5 with an album cover like that and the piano solo on Uncertain Smile.

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Sun Dec 04 2022
5

An old favorite. Totally 80s and 90s. Listening now reminded me of hope and angst!

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Mon Dec 05 2022
5

I've Been Waitin' For Tomorrow goes hard, very aggressive and in your face which it doesn't match for the rest of the album. Instead it takes it back a notch into a more melodic and calmer state of being. That being said, the remaining tracks are mostly great. This is the Day and The Sinking Feeling are slower and uptempo songs that you can click your fingers or clap your hands to. The former is the most accessible track on here with its accordian driven melody and relatable message. The latter is more aggressive in delivery of vocals and lyrics, but musically is positive. And then you get to the Uncertain Smile which is essentially a two parter. The first half is driven by arpeggio guitar riffs and an upbeat chord structure. Its up there with This is the Day so far, and then that awesome 4 minute piano solo kicks in to finish off the track, elevating to the album highlight. After those four tracks, the album provides its two weaker offerings. The Twilight Hour and Soul Mining are a servicable listen in album form, but they are just too slow to listen outside of. Last but not least there's the appropriately titled song Giant, a 9 minute piece that is strongly driven by percussion along with keyboards and synths. Its hypnotic structure works to deliver an effective closing to a pretty awesome album. 5/7 songs are very neat and make this an essential listen, while the other 2 work for the overall atmosphere. It might not be a 5 for most but it just connects to me a lot to write this long of a review.

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Thu Dec 22 2022
5

This is the day is one of the biggest bangers of the century. Imo. And the rest of the album is also great

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Thu Dec 22 2022
5

Definitely my favorite The The album!

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Thu Dec 22 2022
5

An album I had first on cassette (with additional album Burning Blue Soul), then on CD and now am streaming. As debuts go it didn't reveal quite how far Matt Johnson would go in terms of blood, sweat and guns but it's a solid gold set of tunes.

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Sat Dec 24 2022
5

Would have given 6 stars if allowed. Released when I was 18 and world was Thatcher/Reagan/youth unemployment. Album that helps in troubled times, beautiful expression of what it is like being depressed or troubled or insecure or not knowing what the hell to do with life. Add Jools Holland, Thomas Leer and more giants and could be in 11 best albums ever.

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Wed Jan 04 2023
5

Wasn’t sure I needed two The The albums on this list, but this one is different from the second release “Infected.” I loved this one as well. Some nice 80s goodness - particularly enjoyed the song I knew (This is the Day), I’ve Been Waiting for Tomorrow, and Giant. Really great to become more familiar with The The.

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Wed Jan 04 2023
5

This is the sort of music that was my favorite in college. "This is the Day" was a favorite song of mine then. I never had the album, but it sounds faintly familiar as a friend must have played it sometimes. I love the instrumentation, Matt Johnson's moody singing...I feel 20 years old again when I hear this.

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Sun Jan 08 2023
5

This album is a full bop and speaks to me. Like an album that’s been missing all my life. One of the first albums I’m actually adding to my rotation. Unobjectively giving it 5/5 .I don’t care - I want to blast it in my car.

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Mon Jan 16 2023
5

Such an amazing album, running the full gamut between the stripped back synth and lush piano, all with angry, acerbic, self defeating lyric.

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Sat Feb 11 2023
5

One of my favourites. Love the introspective lyrics, love the synth. Soul Mining, This is the day, Uncertain Smile with Jools Holland’s piano solo, it goes on. Then there’s Giant where it all comes together with the cool synths, the lyrics, those drums and chanting. Unimpeachable and magnificent. ImThat one song on its own makes this legendary.

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Tue Feb 28 2023
5

I'm still angry at the person who borrowed and never returned this album from me. I picked up a copy on CD later. This album was unlike any other record of the time. Where's as new music was getting light and frothy (Cindy Lauper, Nena) this was dark and mysterious. If anything it presaged later music from Depeche Mode, whose lighter weight Construction Time Again came out about the same time.

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Wed Mar 01 2023
5

A beautiful and unique album that floats somewhere between post-punk and synth-pop but with accordion and xylorimba 4.5/5

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Mon Mar 13 2023
5

This has really grown on me. Giant is incredible.

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Tue Mar 21 2023
5

What a great discovery. Love the synth, love the popiness of it. I think my favourite song from this album is Giant, the arrangements work so well! Saved tracks: This is the Day, Uncertain Smile, The Twilight Hour, Giant

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Thu Apr 13 2023
5

I've heard the cheeky name before, but I don't think I've ever actually listened to them. I'm kind of kicking myself now though because this is fantastic. I love post-punk and this is just a fantastic example of it. I'll definitely have to explore more.

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Wed Apr 19 2023
5

Classic new wave! Great work on the keys.

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Tue Apr 25 2023
5

BL: "The, The" is a band my dad really likes but have never listened to outside of the "Burning Blue Soul" album. Will be interested to give it a listen. AL: I really liked this album. Hit the spot of Funky Electronica even better than the Hot Chip album did a couple weeks ago. Glad to have heard it. A kind of pre-trip hop masterpiece which makes me see where Massive Attack and all of them got major inspiration from. Definitely worth the listen. FT: “this is the day” “uncertain smile” giant” 5/5

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Fri Apr 28 2023
5

One of my all-time favourite albums of all-time... I listen to this at least once a month and have done for years :) Timeless!

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Sat Apr 29 2023
5

Wow, awesome music. Favorite songs: This is the Day, The Sinking Feeling, Uncertain Smile.

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Wed May 03 2023
5

Another classic album from "The The".

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Thu May 04 2023
5

Oh damn, that is great fusion of postpunk and synthpop with great great vocal. Bass is really ejoyable. When You take everything apart it is so simple, at moments almost too simple. But at the same time everything fits well. Lirycs are worth mentioning on their own. They feel like true poems that balance on verge of despair and hope. When You mix everything it makes specific but somehow very good album.

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Fri May 26 2023
5

If one feels as though they are the symptom of the moral decay gnawing at the heart of the country, they may need some soul mining. In all seriousness, this album is perhaps the most perfect encapsulation of Matt Johnson's vision for The The and remains one of the more engrossing and thoughtful albums of the 1980s. Although there are elements of this that sounds of its time, it can be safely considered current day. A masterpiece.

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Thu Jun 29 2023
5

Really good new wave music. The stretch from ‘This Is The Day’ to ‘The Twilight’ in particular is masterful. I don’t have much to say, really; just an amazing discovery from one of my favorite genres. Very excited for Infected.

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Thu Aug 03 2023
5

It's crazy that this was their debut. This record is awesome! A far cry from 1986's Infected, which I pulled a few months ago and found really underwhelming. Soul Mining on the other hand is far from it. It's a perfect blend of new wave and post-punk, their fusion adds so much character to the music. And for an album that came out in the '80s, nothing about this was corny or cheesy. It felt like a very fresh and modern take on its genres, and must've been influential to at least a few of the indie bands who rode the '80s nostalgia wave over these past few years. If it wasn't, then it should have been. Standout tracks are This is the Day, Uncertain Smile, Soul Mining, and despite being nine minutes long, Giant.

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Mon Aug 28 2023
5

Soul Mining should be in everyone's collection. This post punk album shines with catchy beats, strong lyrics, and head bobbing melodies.

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Wed Aug 30 2023
5

Difficult one to critique because it just did everything insanely well.

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Sun Oct 08 2023
5

Gorgeous indie-pop with bouncy 80s synths, toe-tapping percussion, and catchy melodies. Lyrics are what would happen if you binge-listened the best songs of the Smiths in the dark for months, then took some pep pills and started writing uplifting, chart-busting earworms. The vocalist sings like he's doing the show-stopping monologue at the finale of an amateur theatre camp. Parts of the album sound like you are eavesdropping on his unpolished, lo-fi bedroom rehearsal. The rest sounds like you're hitting the dancefloor firmly under the influence. Everything about this is fantastic. (The artwork of Fela Kuti's wife seems misplaced and the US cover is much better.) 5*

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Sun Oct 08 2023
5

The only thing I didn’t like about this album was that I didn’t know about it sooner.

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Fri Oct 20 2023
5

One of my favorite artists and albums of all time.

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Mon Oct 23 2023
5

I was surprised how much I enjoyed this album. Each song had good melodies and was unique in some way, while being danceable and upbeat. Despite that, the lyrics were often pretty bleak but never whiny or cringy. I liked the sometime surreal imagery as well. I’ll be listening to more of this band for sure.

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Mon Nov 20 2023
5

Crazy to have another the the album so soon. But i am not complaining, This is incredibly good. I liked infected but this is just a bit more of what i like. Banger after banger

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Mon Nov 20 2023
5

This and The Infected make nice counterparts imo. I think I still prefer The Infected by a little

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Thu Nov 30 2023
5

I enjoyed this album a lot! The funkiness really shined here, and the vocals matched well. Can't wait to listen to this again!

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Tue Dec 12 2023
5

I adore ‘Soul Mining’. I was hooked from the very first time I heard it, and every subsequent listen over the years only continues to reinforce how good and unexpected it is. It’s an album about love and loss, sadness and loneliness, social alienation, and political disillusionment. All the usual stuff then, but it’s wrapped up in gorgeous upbeat arrangements and melodies, mixing pop with funky basslines and industrial beats, and even venturing into club territory. The end result is something special, and 40 years on ‘Soul Mining’ sounds as fresh as it did when it was released.

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Fri Jan 05 2024
5

If you combine the best sounds from They Might Be Giants, The Smiths, a little REM, a little DEVO, and maybe a little The Human League, you’d end up with this great 99s sound. Yes Yes for The The.

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Thu Jan 11 2024
5

- Heard of this band before but didn't even know what genre it was - Very pleasantly surprised, not sure how I hadn't heard this before - Fav songs: This is the Day, The Sinking Feeling, Giant

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Sun Jan 21 2024
5

Loved this album. Reminded me of Yeasayer. I'll listen to it again.

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Wed Feb 07 2024
5

Wavy casiotone structure with some misantropic-defeatist lyrics but with shoulder shrugging coolness and the silver lining of a very supposedly traditionalist song developement that goes wildly jazzy here and there. Beautiful ! 4.6

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Thu Feb 15 2024
5

A superb album. Butt-shufflin' synth pop gold.

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Sun Feb 18 2024
5

One of those 5s that creeps up on you, slowly impressing its brilliance on your ears. Weird and wonderful.

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Fri Feb 23 2024
5

Only now - 38 years after I bought the somewhat disappointing Infected album - do I realise that I bought the wrong The The album.

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Mon Mar 11 2024
5

I totally forgot about TheThe the past years. now I have to listen to the other albums as well. Brings back the past.

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Fri Apr 05 2024
5

Uau. Uau. Uau. É um daqueles álbuns que me fazem grato de participar do projeto. Maravilhoso. Cada início de música é de prender a atenção e excitante. A voz e interpretação dele são ótimas. Os instrumentos, as melodias - UAU. 99/100

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Fri Nov 27 2020
4

Way ahead of its time. Poetry in paranoia!

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Tue Oct 06 2020
4

Pretty cool, pretty vibey. Surprised I hadn’t heard of it before.

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Mon Oct 05 2020
4

Deep groove Synth-pop with melodies to spare. Lyrically powerful & self absorbed... in a good way.

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