TITLE: With Sympathy
YEAR RELEASED: 1983
CHART ACTION: #96
SINGLES: I Wanted to Tell Her (#13 Dance), Work for Love (#20 Dance), Revenge (MTV Video – this is the one that goes “You did it again and again and again…”)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I doubt it – this was out of print for a long time.
LINEUP: Alain Jourgensen, Stephen George, Robert Roberts, John Davis, other session players
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: I know Ministry. I’m very familiar with their modus operandi. Um…this ain’t Ministry. (It really is, but…wow…)
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: I’m sure Mr. Jourgensen has, at times, wishes that this phase of his career never existed. Ministry at the time had several dance club hits, both underground and commercial. Arista signed them and either encouraged (or forced) the band to work in a classic synth-pop sound, and the band complied.
Jourgensen and company sound like a typical UK synth-pop band from the time, using electronic drums, standard-for-the time synth noises, not much guitar, and the usual effects. They were better than, say, the Thompson Twins (well, their hits are better), but not as inventive as some like the Human League or Heaven 17.
We know that Ministry would evolve into something darker, sinister and outrageous. Here, you get a few nice 80’s synth pop songs amidst an album that is ultimately disposable – a relic for the time and place, much like Jourgensen’s faux English accent.
NOTES & MINUTAE: Jourgensen used to insist that this sound was foisted upon the band by Arista, but there’s early 80’s video of the band before they were signed that has them playing in a mode similar to this.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, with some early singles.
GRADE: C. There are a few good dance cuts, and “Revenge” is excellent (it takes me back to early TV), but ultimately most of this is dance club filler fodder. A lot of this has been exiled.