Music preview: John Foxx & the Maths @ the Arches, Glasgow

Published by METRO

To some, he’s among the pioneers of electronic music. To others, he’s someone once seen on Top of the Pops playing it extremely cool during his performance of his 1980 single Underpass. But to many, he’s simply unknown.

It seems like a wonder John Foxx isn’t more famous than he is. After all, he was once the lead singer of Ultravox, had a fairly successful solo career, and dabbled in acid house just before its explosion in the early 1990s.

It might be because he’s indulged himself only in projects he’s wanted to, as opposed to ones for the sake of being mainstream, that Foxx never quite became a household name. Indeed, such artists usually acquire, and in most cases prefer, a dedicated cult following instead.

And in his fourth decade in the music industry, the silver-haired Foxx doesn’t look like making any U-turns. The result of this latest collaboration – with synthesiser collector Benge – is more than a match for musical quality and experimentation than any of his career highlights. What’s more, their debut album Interplay has managed to win critical acclaim among an electronic music press extremely wise to ageing has-beens and new pretenders alike.

Foxx’s swoony vocals, set to Benge’s minimal beats and melodic grooves, evoke completely the New Wave synth-pop that came to define Foxx as the man who invented ‘retro-modern’.

Aside from playing his newest material at the Arches on Sunday, the fantastic Mr Foxx will be revisiting tracks from his classic 1980 electro-pop album Metamatic and also from his earlier days with Ultravox (which will see him perform with former Ultravox guitarist Robin Simon).

The acoustics for this event have been perfected to an excellence you’d expect a music lecturer – yes, Foxx is today part of the London College of Music’s teaching staff – to insist upon. Fret not, however, as the overall show – which will feature striking live visuals and plenty of on-stage energy – has an edge necessary to entertain a modern crowd.