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Voices&Images (Reviewed by wavemeister):

Camouflage 'Voices&Images', released in 1988, Synthpop
That Smiling Face
Helpless Helpless
The Great Commandment
Winner Takes Nothing
Strangers Thoughts
From Ay To Bee
Where Has The Childhood Gone
Music For Ballerinas
I Once Had A Dream
They Catch Secrets (Bonus CD Track)
Pompeji (Bonus CD Track)

In the fall of 1987, many owners and clerks of record shops were confronted with the question 'Do you have the new Depeche Mode single?'.
Actually, it wasn´t a DM release but the first single of a new German synthpop trio, Camouflage.

After 'The Great Commandment' was featured in the German video clip show 'Formel Eins', it became a Top 20 hit (#14) and was in heavy rotation on many turntables of radio stations and clubs.
This single featured all the trademarks of Depeche Mode - a strong melody and uncannily similar vocals. With this success, Marcus Meyn, Oliver Kreyssig and Heiko Maile went with their producer Axel Henning in the Dynaton Studios to record the first full-lenght album, Voices&Images.

The critics tore this album which was released in 1988 apart for being 'just another DM-copy', and they rated it not very high. Nonetheless, the fans of this genre loved it and so it went also high in the album charts. 'Voices&Images' spawned another two singles, 'Strangers Thoughts' (#20) and 'Neighbours'.

Maybe it wasn´t such a great idea to start an album with the cracks and pops of a worn-out copy in the vinyl-era...but this is just the short intro to 'That Smiling Face', a melancholic mid-tempo tune. And this is also the main style of the whole album, 'The Great Commandment', 'Winner Takes Nothing' and 'Strangers Thoughts' are the only (slight) deviations from this course, real uptempo tracks like DM´s 'Master And Servant' are completely missing.
Strangely, one of their strongest tracks, 'They Catch Secrets' with it´s uneasy atmosphere and lyrics was released as a bonus track on the CD (it was featured as the B-side on 'Strangers Thoughts'), they may should have skipped the instrumental on the vinyl edition instead. For the curious...'Pompeji' was the B-side of 'The Great Commandment'.
'Music For Ballerinas' and 'Pompeji' are two instrumentals, and fairly said, both tracks are merely fillers.

Lyrically, Camouflage followed the scheme which was set by their great models (and the genre in general) with songs of (failed) love and mild critcism of political structures as in 'The Great Commandment', 'Neighbours' and 'Strangers Thoughts'.

For the first album release, it sounded amazingly mature, thanks to the good production of Axel Henninger who was also responsible for many other artists like Moskwa TV, Micro Chip League, X-Perience and many more.
Both the album and the single 'The Great Commandment' are now classics in the synthpop genre. Camouflage released more albums until today, but the hits and chart notations became rare, as they also tried to 'update' the sound which wasn´t entirely what their fans wanted to hear.

Response to this review by Flix): Nice one Wave. Definitely one of my alltime favs. The Great Commandment is one of those songs that will never go away.

Response to this review by xistenza): It's interesting to see how so many critics were quick to write them off as another generic synthpop group. I think it's great that the fans proved them wrong as "Voices & Images" has become a "MUST HAVE" for all synthpop fans. Also, I think the intro to "That Smiling Face" is fantastic. It's the perfect set up to one of their BEST songs.

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