It's the first blast of new album 'Happiness Not Included'...

For a minute there, it looked as though we'd lost Soft Cell.

The synth pop legends sank back into the darkness following a number of large-scale, celebratory shows in 2019.

But it seems that frontman Marc Almond and producer / instrumentalist Dave Ball just couldn't sever that relationship, opting instead to focus on a new album.

Out next year - February 25th, in fact - 'Happiness Not Included' is their first album in 20 years, and it draws on the synth pop playbook they themselves invented.

New single 'Heart Like Chernobyl' airs through Clash, and it matches a dulcet synth melody against deeply subversive lyrics.

A song about isolation during lockdown, it's bolstered by some typically fine Marc Almond vocals.

Dave Ball explains: "When I wrote the music to 'Heart Like Chernobyl' it was at the height of lockdown and I had been alone for about six weeks. I was feeling a bit Joy Division and recalled their track 'Isolation'. I played, programmed and recorded the track digitally in my home studio - Kitchen Sink Drama. The track title was Marc's idea, as was the subject matter."

From its unforgettable opening lines - "Oh dear / I feel like North Korea / In the winter..." - onwards this is a vintage piece of Soft Cell, layering its pop heart in darkness.

Tune in now.

Pre-save it HERE.

Photo Credit: Andrew Whitton

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