ZANG TUMMM TUMB ARTICLES “the first draft of history”

Closest thing to heaven

In 1985 the maverick label ZTT, run by producer Trevor Horn and journalist Paul Morley, released a classic album by German pomp pop group Propaganda. ‘A Secret Wish, as it was called, turned out to be an immense piece of computerised music that shows no sign of ageing five years on.

After the album which spawned the hits ‘Dr Mabuse and ‘Jewel came the split, with ZTT and with each other, singer Claudia Brücken leaving to form ACT with Thomas leer. But, after an interminable wait, the name returns, with a new label, Virgin, and a new staff. Original members Michael Mertens and Ralf Dörper are now joined by former Simple Minds Derek Forbes and Brian McGee, with vocal duties being performed by American-born, Munich-based Betsi Miller, who has the traditional Brücken profile.

Their single, ‘Heaven Give Me Words, is less epic and more poppy than their previous creations, but it still has the undeniable Propaganda class. The only disturbing element is the appearance of Howard Jones on the co-writing credits. One can only hope that this is a clerical error.

Tim Nicholson