Eighties New Wave pop band Thompson Twins had a handful of hits during the decade, and like many of their contemporaries, they didn’t last beyond the decade. Many of these bands still perform and release albums, of varying quality. Thompson Twins aren’t one of ‘em. When they released their final album, Queer, in 1991, they declared it to be the end, and have stayed true to that promise. They sealed their reputation with quality synth-pop hits “Lay Your Hands On Me,” “King For A Day” and “Hold Me Now,” and all three of those songs can still be heard on the radio thirty years later.
Remixes and Rarities—part of an ongoing Cherry Pop compilation series—offers up two dozen choice Thompson Twins remixes and B-sides, and for the most part the collection isn’t that duff. Of course, all the hits are here; thankfully, the compilers avoid multiple versions of the same hit songs—the only repetition comes with two versions of “Lay Your Hands on Me” and “The Gap,” but both mixes are compelling enough it’s understandable why both were included. Most of these songs are taken from the twelve-inch singles, many of which were made for the US, and several were promotional mixes as well.
Unlike other pop remixes of the era, it’s easy to hear some thought went into these, as best exemplified by “Doctor! Doctor!”; the pulsing introduction feels like a natural extension of the song, rather than superfluous beats added later. The only cringe-worthy remix is a puzzling “club mix” of “Nothing In Common,” a quiet, gentle ballad that was a love theme for a comedy film of the same name, and would prove to be the group’s final hit. Also worth noting is the unreleased single “Roll Over (Again);” it’s a mellow number, but in the Thompson Twins’ catalog, it’s a weaker number. The b-side, “Fools in Paradise,” offers a variation on “King For A Day,” though the notes don’t specify if this was a working version of the song, or if it’s a fun little dalliance.
While Remixes and Rarities might not be the best place for a new Thompson Twins fan to start, for those old fogies like yours truly, it’s a nice nostalgic trip.