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1234 was not only Propaganda's first album for Charisma -- it was also the first album the group had recorded since its legal battle with ZTT, and the first since its personnel changes of 1988. Keyboardist Michael Mertens (Propaganda's only remaining original member) and Simple Minds graduates Derek Forbes (bass) and Brian McGee (drums) were still on board, although singer Claudia Brucken had been replaced by Betsi Miller, an American vocalist who fit in nicely. While 1234 isn't Propaganda's best album and falls short of essential, it's generally decent. "Heaven Give Me Words," "Only One Word," and "Wound in My Heart" are examples of Propaganda doing what it did well: lush, atmospheric synth-pop. Attractive melodies were Propaganda's forté, and the group's post-Brucken lineup provided its share. 1234 is the work of a group that was past its prime, but still had some things to say musically.

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