Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Music Box: Blancmange

This post was originally going to be about Echo and the Bunnymen, after Michael and I heard the delicious "Lips Like Sugar" at Murray's Bagels the other day when both broke out in HUGE smiles and Michael declared, "I don't want this song on my iPod -- I NEED this song on my iPod!" (Not to mention that fact that the band's reissued "Ocean Rain" has been on heavy rotation around here since I got it last year). But then my friend Mark -- whose birthday is today, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! -- mentioned to me that he's on a major Blancmange binge (better the band than the sweets, HONEY!) and I immediately got on one, too! (They were a couple of lookers, huh?!) Like many a '80s band that DIDN'T have a female singer, I loved Blancmange's singles yet never bothered to buy any of their albums. I was surprised to read that they were actually together from 1979-1987, yet only produced three LPs. Naturally, their official MySpace page says they have recently reformed and are writing material for a new album.

I see that the three original studio albums -- "Happy Families," "Mange Tout" and "Believe You Me" -- have been reissued as remastered and expanded editions. I'll leave you with the group's two best-known songs -- both of which I've been breaking into for decades! -- and trust you'll let me know the error of my ways for not owning such and such album.

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    Boomer said...

    I had forgotten about Blancmange...they were amazing and I saw them in Chicago at Caberet Metro (now just metro)...great show

    taffy said...

    hi kenneth;

    ok, so i'm one of those guys that had the blancmange albums on vinyl, bought all three of them on CD (had to scrounge to find them) and then bought them all again on reissue when in London this past March. I have a DVD of them in concert. And to be perfectly annoying, i even own Neil Arthur's solo album, Suitcase. But...I have to be honest, i probably wouldn't *insist* you go out and buy the albums now (like I did with the Primitives!). I think they did nifty synthpop, sorta dark (more Soft Cell-like, less Erasure-like), and the occasional middle-eastern influence (esp in Living on the Ceiling) made for a nice change. I'm sure a good compilation would serve you fine. I have personal attachments to the albums cuz I've been listening to them for 20-25 yrs, but that's just my sentimentality. If I were to recommend you buy just one studio album, i'd definitely push for Believe You Me, which i think is overall their strongest and most conventionally poppy (in a good way). I actually thought What's Your Problem could've been a big hit; boy was I wrong!

    Oh, and just a heads-up, mister...
    Echo & the Bunnymen are truly one of my favorite bands EVER. Yes, I know i say that a lot, but besides owning every Echo album twice, every Ian McCulloch solo album, every live album, and besides having seen them live a good 10 or 12 times (alas not at Radio City for the Ocean Rain concert last year), I used to worship pictures of Ian printed in Smash Hits - i truly thought he was the most beautiful man. OK, he's a chain-smoking egomaniac (and of course he's put on the pounds through the years), but early/mid 80s he was perfection. And Never Stop is the best dance song ever. Well, maybe not ever, but, you know how i go on...
    and The Killing Moon has one of my five favorite lyrics ever ever ever. For real.

    In starlit nights I saw you
    so cruelly you kissed me
    your lips a magic world
    your sky all hung with jewels
    the killing moon will come too soon

    gives me shivers just typing it out. swoon.
    I can't wait for their latest, which comes out soon.

    nojarama said...

    Blancmange's first three remastered albums are MUST! Anyone who grew up with them during that wonderful period (1981-1985-ish: nothing since has been so wonderful IMO) MUST get them. Essential!

    I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do... said...

    All Blancmange albums are awesome, glad to see them getting some attention. Their 12" mixes and many b-sides, also awesome. Neil's solo, Suitcase, superawesome. New-ish song, "Drive Me" on their MySpace page is AAAawesome.

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