Vince Clarke and Paul Hartnoll – “Better Have a Drink to Think” (Singles Going Steady)

Marrying Vince Clarke's crystalline synth-stab style with Orbital's layered, melodically-conscious techno, this is an electronic dance track that undulates in trails of dissipating color

Pryor Stroud: Marrying Vince Clarke’s crystalline synth-stab style with Orbital’s layered, melodically-conscious techno, “Better Have a Drink to Think” is an electronic dance track that undulates in trails of dissipating color and lunges in bursts of laser-hot light. It’s relatively straightforward; Clarke and Hartnoll structure the production around a sharpened synth blip-motif and a recurring chunk of sampled glossolalia. All-in-all, for a track that taps the talents of two yesteryear trendsetters, it sounds incontrovertibly modern, like the two of them have been at the frontlines of popular music this whole time and were only waiting for the right moment to strike out. [7/10]

John Bergstrom: Having already collaborated on “techno-y” projects with Martyn Ware of Heaven 17 and Martin Gore of Depeche Mode, synth genius® Clarke sets his sights on one half of the Orbital brothers. It’s like he has brought the same synthesizer with him from Depeche Mode in the early ’80s, to the Assembly, Yazoo, Erasure, and all this “techno-y” stuff. It’s that one synthesizer that sounds just a bit brighter and more plonky than the others. Yes, plonky. [6/10]

Chris Ingalls: Vince Clarke’s appearance on the modern experimental synthdance pop scene is a refreshing, comforting thing. While everyone and his brother are dragging out secondhand Oberheims, Clarke saunters out and blows everyone away, basically showing the kids how it’s supposed to be done. Orbital’s Paul Hartnoll is a bit younger, but is also of a slightly older generation than his contemporaries, so the overall vibe is still something like Mr. Miyagi schooling the youngsters. It’s a steady dance groove with the bleeping synthesizers and crisp drum machines meshing nicely with a somewhat Middle Eastern vocal vibe. The song moves nicely and works well as a confident, strutting dance number, and it doesn’t hurt to have such a strong synthpop pedigree behind it all. [7/10]

Emmanuel Elone: “Better Have a Drink to Think” is nothing more than a basic synthpop song. The beat and groove are decent, and there are even some fancy synth and vocal sample flourishes laced in throughout the song. However, that’s all there is to it. At two minutes, it would have been little better than average, but four minutes of the same simple beat is too redundant and derivative in my opinion. [4/10]

Chad Miller: This is a pretty cool track. There were a lot of unexpected moments in the piece that hit with a lot of resonance. Somehow, it all sounded seamless at the same time which was probably a result of the complementary samples and instrumentation. [7/10]

SCORE: 6.20