For his first album following the dissolution of Scotland’s Josef K, singer-guitarist-keyboardist Paul Haig enlisted some impressive sidemen — including Anton Fier, Tom Bailey and Bernie Worrell — and producer Alex Sadkin. A mostly pleasant but unexceptional and uneven record, the synth-driven tracks on Rhythm of Life variously resemble lighter-hearted versions of New Order and the Human League. Haig demonstrates a danceable solution that doesn’t bang on your head; some of the numbers, however, do drag along tunelessly, replacing invention with mere repetition and nuance with clumsiness. The subsequent American EP offers five-ninths of the album (a wise condensation) as remixed by an obscure New York club DJ. By leaving off a couple of dogs, it makes a better musical introduction.
The Warp of Pure Fun teams him with ex-Associate Alan Rankine for a slicker, more adventurous and entertaining excursion. Haig’s not much of a singer — a little dramatic and gruff for the dance-poppish material — but the nimble arrangements and some resilient melodies cover such deficiencies. “The Only Truth” crosses New Order with the Thompson Twins and, like “Love & War,” features Bernard Sumner on guitar; “Heaven Help You Now” injects a bit of folk into synth-rock. A triumph of style over substance, but a likable record with some fine moments.
European Sun compiles several of Haig’s singles (including his first solo effort, “Running Away”) and unreleased recordings from ’82 through ’87. A near-rockabilly cover of Suicide’s “Ghost Rider” is neat, as is “The Executioner,” a disturbing collaboration with Cabaret Voltaire.