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This 2013 anthology of the British synth pop group Visage is essentially an expanded edition of 1983's Fade to Grey: The Singles Collection. In 1993, it was rebranded under its current title Fade to Grey: The Best of Visage with the addition of two more tracks ("Love Glove" and "Fade to Grey [Bassheads 7" edit]"), both of which have been jettisoned from the 2013 version, along with the fantastic new romantic album cover and a handful of other tracks. So what makes the updated set noteworthy? Well, there are a couple of BBC versions of "The Anvil" and "Can You Hear Me?" and dance mixes of the sleek "Mind of a Toy," the guitar-heavy "We Move," and their early post-disco single "Frequency 7."
When they recorded the follow-up to their surprisingly successful debut, the members of Visage appeared to be dealing from a position of strength. But the dance club-fueled, style-obsessed new romantic movement that had propelled the group to success in England was already crumbling, and frontman Steve Strange had begun to take his role as the movement's figurehead a little too seriously. The Anvil, rumored to be the subject of a multi-million dollar feature film (a project that never materialized), emphasizes Strange's penchant for melancholy and melodrama.
With apologies to Spandau Ballet, Ultravox, and even Duran Duran, this is the music that best represents the short-lived but always underrated new romantic movement. That's fitting, because Visage's frontman, Steve Strange, was the colorfully painted face of the movement, just as this album was its sound. Warming up Kraftwerk's icy Teutonic electronics with a Bowie-esque flair for fashion, Strange and the new romantics created a clubland oasis far removed from the drabness of England's early-'80s reality – and the brutality of the punk response to it. And no one conjured up that Eurodisco fantasyland better than Visage, whose "Fade to Grey" became the anthem of the outlandishly decked-out Blitz Kids congregated at Strange's club nights.
Although Visage existed largely in the shadow of their more popular sister group, Ultravox, they nevertheless became one of the defining groups of the New Romantic movement with their synth pop classic, "Fade to Grey." After weathering several personnel changes, Visage released their final album, BEAT BOY, in 1984, to muted commercial and critical response. While not reaching the mesmerizing heights of their earlier work, the album shows the band branching out into a more live-rock sound, incorporating guitars and drums along with their more familiar synth washes and electronic pulses.