Soft Cell have teamed up with Pet Shop Boys on their latest single ‘Purple Zone’ which will also feature on Soft Cell’s forthcoming album, ‘*Happiness Not Included’.
The collaboration came about due to the Pet Shop Boys hearing ‘Purple Zone’ performed live at a Soft Cell show in 2021 — initial conversations had been around producing a remix, according to the duo, but talk soon shifted to an all-out partnership.
“Working with the Pet Shop Boys was a pleasure, and this track is the perfect combination of us and them,” said Soft Cell’s Marc Almond via a statement.
Pet Shop Boys added: “We are thrilled to collaborate with such an inspirational duo as Soft Cell on this gorgeous song.”
Soft Cell’s last album, ‘Cruelty Without Beauty’ came out in 2002 with their new album ‘*Happiness Not Included’ out May 6 with pre-orders available here.
Across twelve tracks, the duo will explore contemporary social issues alongside ideas of utopia, according to vocalist Marc Almond, who said: “In this album, I wanted to look at us as a society: a place where we have chosen to put profits before people, money before morality and decency, food before the rights of animals, fanaticism before fairness and our own trivial comforts before the unspeakable agonies of others.”
Dave Ball and Marc Almond started Soft Cell as students at Leeds Polytechnic in 1977, where Almond was majoring in performance art (mentored by Frank Tovey, aka Fad Gadget). Soft Cell quickly shot up to fame, and mild infamy, in the very early 80s, starting with their debut tour de force, Non Stop Erotic Cabaret. Still fresh out of the Leeds performance art scene at that point, Soft Cell shocked the British public with their flagrant sexual fluidity, BDSM imagery, and of course…the legendary banned Sex Dwarf video, starring a cast of nude transexual sex workers with chainsaws, maggoty meat, and a lot of leather harnesses.
That is what makes the wholesomeness of the video for Purple Zone so remarkable: once Marc Almond himself was one of those art school iconoclasts, now he’s depicted as serenely playing pub dominoes with Neil Tennant (perhaps a nod to Domino Dancing?). The video also depicts gentle observations of LGBTQ people who survived the AIDS crisis of the 80s and 90s, now finding themselves living in a world paradoxically more and less accepting of individuality.