Review: ‘Voggue’ by Voggue (Vinyl, 1981)


Today’s POP RESCUE from a fate unknown, is the 1981 eponymous debut album Voggue by Canadian duo Voggue. Was this a kind of catchy new dance craze, or just one big mistake? Read on…

Voggue - Voggue (1981) album cover

The album opens with the hand claps and gentle hi-hat beats of single Love Buzz, which is perfectly laced with disco. Angela Songui and Chantal Condor’s vocals take a while to arrive, are a little scant, and are perhaps a little subdued, but this is a pretty catchy song all the same. Sadly it failed to chart in the UK.

This is followed by the gentle ballad Here We Are, which really gives the duo a change to show off their softer vocals, which work pretty well for the vocal harmonies set against a backdrop of soaring strings. This is a heartfelt paint-by-numbers 80’s ballad, and whilst it was released as a single, it didn’t bother the UK charts.

A catchy guitar riff opens Movin‘ Up, leaving me feel like I need to dance to some kind of disco glam rock song. The vocal harmonies work well, and I could imagine this as an 80s Bananarama hit. Obligatory 80s Saxophone even makes an appearance during the mid section. The catchiness continues throughout, resulting in a great little disco pop song.

Side One closes with Go For It, which sounds initially like a missing Chic track, but laced with enough little bleeps guitar or synth sounds to worry a cat. It’s pretty lyric-lite, but the disco beat and bass is clearly intended as the main feature here and it goes on quite a long time until eventually fading away.

Side Two opens with a light percussive intro to Dancin’ The Night Away, before giving way to more disco strings and some synths. At times, vocally I’m reminded of the sounds on LaRoux’s second album. Obligatory 80s Saxophone returns, but other than this, there’s little else to this song. The lyrics are fairly light again, letting the music take centre stage once more, and it sounds really nice, and I really like the almost radio effected string section that closes it. This track was the duo’s only UK charting single, giving them a #39 single in the summer of 1981.

The mood turns romantic again for Without Your Love, with some rich bass, and tinkling bell chimes. Sweeping strings and saxophone sweep along the soft vocals once more – completely textbook stuff – but completely suited to this sound and era.

The album closes with Back Again (which surely would have been a better opener for side two?!). It’s a simple disco fuelled track, with plenty of sweeping string sections from the Don Renaldo Ensemble over a clean simple disco beat. There’s some nice bass sections, and some warm vocal harmonies, but again somewhat ticks the box without feeling like it tries.

Its hard to place Voggue. They look like an early-80s version of pop hopefuls Gayle and Gillian, at times sound like Bananarama, or occasionally like an early LaRoux. There’s definitely an amount of Sister Sledge/Chic influence here, as it’s blatantly scattered througout the disco tracks, and we’re perhaps set out to be a rival for them.

I bought this LP on the strength of the album sleeve (amazing, right?), expecting some kind of early electro pop sound, but it’s far more disco than I was expecting, and it becomes quite overindulgent of this at the expense of lyrics. However, the music is expertly produced, and it’s a great example of what disco was heading towards. It’s unfortunate that the duo didn’t manage to garner much attention in the UK.

Where are Voggue now?

Voggue had greater success in the USA than in the UK, enough to enable them to release a second album Take 2 in 1983, and for them to have had a few more hit singles. Sadly, the duo disbanded shortly afterwards.

Chantal continued with a musical career, initially as a solo artist, before becoming part of 90’s group Collage. After leaving them in 1992, she has returned to working as a solo artist. Meanwhile, Angela formed the Museability which manages trade show events in Canada.

Voggue album rating:

  • POP RESCUE 2017 RATING: 3 / 5
  • 1981 UK CHART PEAK: Did not chart.
  • 2017 POP RESCUE COST: £4.50

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