The output of Yazoo refutes the notion that synth-pop is aloof and robotic. Driven by Alison Moyet’s warm, soulful vocals and Vince Clarke’s forward-thinking synth compositions, the early-’80s UK duo connected with both touching ballads (“Only You”) and yearning dance-floor jams (“Don’t Go,” “Situation”). The duo formed Yazoo (going by Yaz in some countries) in 1981. Incredibly, the musicians had both grown up in Basildon, Essex, but hadn’t known each other until Clarke—who had left Depeche Mode after the release of the band’s debut LP, Speak & Spell—answered a Melody Maker classified ad posted by Moyet. The act’s 1982 debut LP, Upstairs at Eric’s, peaked at No. 2 in the UK on the strength of its taut, emotional electronic jams, but the success was short lived; Yazoo split in 1983, just before the release of their chart-topping second album, You And Me Both. Clarke then formed the synth-pop act Erasure, and Moyet launched a celebrated solo career. However, the duo’s music had staying power. New remixes of older hits charted in the ’90s, and Moyet’s bubbly laugh in “Situation” became a popular sample, including in Los del Río’s “Macarena.” Yazoo reunited in 2008 for well-received concerts around the release of a box set, In Your Room, and also performed a brief set together at a 2011 music festival.
ORIGINBasildon, Essex, England