Even in its standard two-disc/30-track edition, A Very British Synthesizer Group
is the Human League
compilation with the widest scope. It starts with the group's earliest, late-'70s output as the boundary-pushing trio of Philip Oakey, Martyn Ware
, and Ian Craig Marsh
-- the latter two of whom bailed in 1980 to start B.E.F.
and Heaven 17
-- and chronologically summarizes the longer-lasting Oakey/Joanne Catherall
version through the early 2010s. The selection favors the singles, such as the post-punk classic "Being Boiled," the global hits "Don't You Want Me" and "Human," and later works from the group's occasionally fine '90s and 2000s releases. The anthology isn't truly straightforward. It bounces from extended mixes to edits, while "The Sound of the Crowd" is present in instrumental form, and the William Orbit
remix of "Heart Like a Wheel" appears instead of the original version. That said, it is a representative introduction to the work of a top-tier synth pop group.