[18] The Human League, ‘Mirror Man’

Kicking off with the please-God-make-them-STOP ooo-ooo-ooo-OOO harmonies from The Girls, this is a Sheffield-hued Motownesque synth pop bounder, blessed with one of Phil Oakey’s more soulful vocals. Well, he lets his flat robotone crack in one place. That’s as close as the West Yorks Veronica Lake will ever get to letting rip and breaking down.

And it’s one of those singles that doesn’t appear on an album, so extra points there. The Human League weren’t strangers to that – the next single, ‘Fascination’ was the same. Rather than a sop to the fans, I think they were struggling to follow up the peerless Dare, so would bung out a single whenever a song passed muster. The patchy in the extreme Hysteria was the album that finally rolled up, heralded by the bewildering ‘The Lebanon’. The goose was cooked.

So, is it better than ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’? Junior looked puzzled at first; soon she was clapping along. “A bit derivative,” she said, “but it has a certain Steeltown infectiousness that transcends its reference points.”

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