Roughly a decade before the arched eyebrows filth heyday of Pulp were synth pop duo Soft Cell, whose songs about the sex industry, drugs, empty love affairs and even emptier stomachs broke lyrical taboos in the Thatcher era. They also inspired the “classic diva pouring their heart out and moody bloke on synth” template, found in Yazoo, Pet Shop Boys, Erasure and more recently, naughty Glasgow cabaret twosome Alternative Cracks.

Nobody, but nobody, did twenty four carat sleaze as well as the Leeds-based pair, though. Of course, Marc Almond and Dave Ball had success beyond Soft Cell; Almond solo and with many side projects, and Ball as a film and pop producer. But now, they are back together again, and sounding magnificent.

With many bands who reform, the dreaded words “new songs” can often send audience members scampering off to the bar, but tracks Heart Like Chernobyl and Bruises On My Illusions, from forthcoming album Happiness Not Included, have the requisite menace, wit and glamour alike of the best of their back catalogue.

A beaming, shimmying Almond is in his element, cracking wise about Pornhub and COP26, and Ball seems chipper too, whether flanked by mini TV screens on a storming Frustration, a backdrop of Soho in a slinky Seedy Films, or red beaded curtains for a bouncing Sex Dwarf. The visual element is spectacular, augmenting the high drama and glory of their music.

Accompanied by brilliant sax/flute player Gary Barnacle, and soulful backing singers, what really stands out is the timelessness and versatility of the music, as evinced by the Latin-inflected L’Esqualita, kitchen sink soul of Where The Heart Is, or proto-techno Chips On My Shoulder.

But the surprise of the night is a frenetic, Hi-NRG Martin, complete with red giallo film clips in the background. My Goth heart almost weeps for joy. It sounds absolutely feral.

Love for the band clearly hasn’t┬ábecome tainted over time, evinced by the smiles and wiggling all round the venue, and in the words of gorgeous ballad Youth, “the years have been fairly kind” to the band. In fact, you may almost ask where the two crumbling portraits are…