Dutch death disco from early '80s

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Minny Pops

SPARKS IN A DARK ROOM

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More post-punk electro pioneers crawl out of obscurity in the form of these Dutch one-time Factory artists. Actually, to term the Minny Pops ‘pioneers’ is to overstate the case, but the cold DAF-like electronic menace of 1982 debut album Sparks In A Dark Room sounds remarkably fresh over 20 years on, bearing favourable comparison with contemporaries such as Simple Minds and Tubeway Army as well as the current crop of analogue pretenders.

Wally van Middendorp’s lugubrious baritone is an acquired taste but works well on the foreboding, battleship-grey funk of “Crack” and “Vital”.

The tracks gathered together on accompanying rarities compilation Secret Stories are less electronic and less essential, indicating a band struggling to escape the influence of Joy Division. Go straight for Sparks In A Dark Room instead.