Music News

The Human League

Few would suspect that a band like the Human League -- which prided itself on using no rock instruments on its first three albums -- was inspired by the first wave of British glam and punk rock. Nonetheless, that's exactly how the Sheffield-based act came into being: witnessing the evolution of those scenes firsthand. In the recently released documentary Made in Sheffield, former and current League members reveal that their home town was the kind of place where musicians absorbed what was going on around them and then created something completely different. The League's first two albums, Reproduction and Travelogue, were often criticized for their cold and stark sound; their synth/post-punk must have seemed alien at a time when earnest, blue-collar, guitar-oriented rock -- punk or otherwise -- was the order of the day. Little did the critics know then that they were seeing the wave of the future. 1981's Dare! made international synth-pop superstars of the group with the unlikely hit "Don't You Want Me?"
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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.