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Album Review

Infected's sound still suggests dance-pop, especially on the title track. But don't get the impression that it's made for dancing. Instead of the light fare displayed on Soul Mining, Infected's songs seethe instead of preen, and Matt Johnson's lyrics are laced with tension. Thematically, he plunges a lance into the exposed midsection of Great Britain, analyzing the state of modern urban life in the country. "This is the land where nothing changes," Johnson sings on the World Party-ish "Heartland." "A land of red buses and blue bloody babies/This is the place where the hearts are being cut from the welfare state." "Angels of Deception" matches rain-slicked verses to a powerful chorus flavored with gospel backup singers and enormous reverb percussion. With production tricks like this, Infected aligns itself with the dance-pop sound of its predecessor (and the prevailing sound of British pop music at the time). But there's no denying the record's acerbic lyricism or dark-toned instrumentation. "Sweet Bird of Truth" is gritty pop tinged with wartime radio chatter and muscular horns that somehow manage to be apocalyptic, and the sweaty finale "Mercy Beat" has a drink with the devil while dance-pop burns brightly in the background, sending embers into the London night sky. Synthesized horns and crashing drums converge around a mirthful Johnson lyric before the song finally fades to the weird tones of a looped guitar. Infected was the first true indication of Johnson's mercurial nature, and established the dissonance and reinvention of his later work. [The 2002 Sony reissue of Infected features 24-bit remastering.]

Customer Reviews

Am I really the first person on iTunes to review this album?

This is my favorite album from The The, which for many years was my favorite band. It is still in my top ten, incidentally. I say "band," but really it is just Matt Johnson and his hired guns. Anyway, this is favorite since it plays perfectly from start to finish, the way a true album should be. These songs are really hard to separate from one another; they belong not only together on the album with each other but also in the exact order that Matt has put them in. The album tells a dark tale of Matt's interior struggles and anguish disguised in a story of his views on politics and the state of affairs in England in the mid eighties. Let's just say he wasn't a big Margaret Thatcher fan. Although I don't doubt Matt's sincerity when it comes to his political views, I have always heard much more going on "between the notes" of his songs. He is obviously an extremely introspective, highly sensitive and thoughtful person, and, while his entire body of work reflects that, I believe that this album in particular is a great example of this. It's obvious that there is a lot more going on in his mind than just thoughts of the evils of capitalism and what it has done to his beloved England. This is an emotionally devastating album, and, unlike the more experimental Burning Blue Soul, very accessible. This is one of my top ten albums of all time, and I have over 38,000 itunes in my library at the time I am writing this.

Outstanding follow up to Soul Mining

This album is anger-fuled and pursues darker themes...the self-reflection of Soul Mining has been replaced by characters in action and a loud cry at the establisment (specifically the Enlish governing class). Stunning visual images clash with sonic overload...this album sounds best really loud!

Woo Hoo

I finally get to replace my tape. It is almost 20 years old now and it was getting thin from replay.


Formed: 1979 in London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The The was the guise of Matt Johnson, a mercurial singer/songwriter whose music ran the gamut from dance-pop to country. Born August 15, 1961, in London, Johnson was raised in the flat above his father's pub, the Two Puddings, a haven for well-known celebrities and criminals; he also became exposed to music at the nightclubs and dancehalls owned by his uncle, where he saw performers like Howlin' Wolf, the Kinks, and Muddy Waters. Johnson formed his first band, Roadstar, when he was 11; at the age...
Full Bio