When Cabaret Voltaire signed to Some Bizarre in 1983, it was an industrial band with a cult following. That all changed when the first album under the deal hit the streets: The loss of founding member Christopher Watson forced a rethink, and the group emerged as a lean electronic duo, still dedicated to experimental funk but with a much colder and danceable format. Some Bizarre's distribution deal with Virgin also brought the Cabs to a much wider audience, both at home and on the dancefloor. The Original Sound of Sheffield compiles the 12" A-sides recorded during the years when Cabaret Voltaire was at its most influential, covering the albums The Crackdown, Micro-phonies, The Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord, the Drinking Gasoline EP, and Code. (Fans disappointed by the band's attempts to pander to an audience that was busy embracing acts influenced by Cabaret Voltaire may take smug pleasure in noting the absence of any material from Groovy, Laidback and Nasty on this compilation. Those broken up by the omission can find a bunch of it on this album's companion work, the Conform to Deform box set, which also includes a number of the flip sides of the tracks found here, as well as a number of rarities.) This is the sound that launched a thousand techno acts.
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AllMusic Review by Sean Carruthers