The story of Pete Best seems to have been repeated ad infinitum since 1963, and I'm sure the likes of Glen Matlock, Keith Levine, Andy Couzens, Siobhan Donaghy and Stephen Duffy have their own stories to tell about how they were unceremoniously dumped prior to their former bandmates' ascent to megastardom.
John Foxx is in many ways the anti-Pete Best, opting to jump ship because his band, Ultravox, were seemingly going nowhere and, as they say, the rest is history. His replacement Midge Ure's place in pop history was secured thanks to Band Aid.
Having gone his own way, the less-than-prolific ('Crash And Burn' is his 7th studio album in just over 20 years) Foxx has always contrived to re-invent himself with every passing phase, and with his second album 'The Garden', possibly invented the ethereal goth sound that made the likes of The Cocteau Twins and Lush rich a decade later.
With 'Crash And Burn', Foxx has obviously stood in the background and listened to the likes of Fischerspooner and The Hacker revisiting his halcyon era before unleashing his own genre-redefining take on the almost defunct "electroclash" roster.
The title track bears an uncanny resemblance to Adult's 'Hand To Phone' with its simmering techno beat undercutting Foxx's monotone vocal at every opportunity, while 'Sex Video' will send shivers down the spine of any Squarepusher fan by way of its continually changing tones and frequencies, that also owe a passing nod in the direction of early Warp Records luminaries such as LFO.
Foxx, having enlisted the help of synth guru Louis Gordon (billed as Foxx's equal partner on the credits, no less), has managed to achieve a feat that so many artists have tried and failed to do over the last few years, finally redecorating the smeared nicotine stained artex of 1985 with an electric blue pastel print that screams the year 2003 over and over again until Maximilian Hecker's ears burst.
In 'Sidewalking', Foxx may even have a summer dance hit on his hands, with Gordon's infectious beats complimenting Foxx's deadpan lyrics ("sidewalking in the dead of night, sidewalking I can do what I like..."), while 'Ultraviolet / Infrared' is the sound of New Order jamming with Adult. in a Berlin cellar with only a couple of rabid bats for company.
As comebacks go, 'Crash And Burn' is not so much a return to form, but an astonishing (and sometimes brutal) introduction to someone whose genius has gone largely unrecognised by today's youthful record buying public, although with any justice this album will change all that.
8Dom Gourlay's Score