- It's no doubt a partial trust in the sincerity of a figure as enduring and multifarious as Edward Upton, but just when you think your throwback tolerance is at its lowest ebb, there arrives a record like this to suggest there might be life in the aging dog yet. The British producer has turned his hand to pretty much every style in a 20 year career, winning support from Richard D. James and establishing a cult label along the way, so you get the feeling that, when he makes, say, flagrant '80s synth pop, it's more penchant-indulgence than faddy conceit.
Titular track "The Game" comes complete, in classic maxi fashion, with a "dance remix," but from listening alone it's hard to tell which one that should be. Both are new wave tunes of the Human League/Yazoo ilk (the original a little more Human League, the remix a touch Yazoo-ier) with arrangements that don't vary wildly and suitably daft lyrics ("I really, really love you / But I cannot tell you") crooned by Upton after graduation from the Dave Gahan school of baritone. It's silly, catchy fun.
With the Vince Clarke fans catered to, Upton offers something from a little further back in the crate on the b-side: Italo. "Disco Theme" melts a buttery melody over a Moroder-style bass pulse, while "Taking Your Own Advice" sounds like one of Alexander Robotnick's love issues. Yes, they could have easily been written in 1983 by someone a lot swarthier than Upton, but their redeeming feature is that, if they had been, we might well call them classics today. A throwback that hits its target.
A1 The Game (Dance Mix)
A2 The Game
B1 Disco Theme
B2 Taking Your Own Advice