British electronic band Blancmange return to the live circuit with the 21-date “Mindset” tour – kicking off in Scotland in May and then back on the road in September and October.
The synth’ pop band broke through in the early 80s with their mix of synthesizers and surrealism, with singles such as “Feel Me”, and Top 10 hit “Living On The Ceiling”, which peaked at number seven in the UK singles chart (official video can be seen below).
Debut album, “Happy Families” dented the Top 30 in the albums chart in 1982, while their follow-up album, “Mange Tout” made it to number eight. Their third album and last one of the 80s was “Believe You Me”.
It was a long wait for the fourth album, “Blanc Burn” which did not see the light day until 2011, after the band focused on film music and individual solo projects.
“Semi Detached” was a darker but still pop-savvy sound, which came out in 2015 – the first of several new records written and recorded by Neil Arthur, and without the input of Stephen Luscombe due to illness. The “edgy and pared-down” “Unfurnished Rooms” dropped in September 2017.
Singles “Blind Vision” reached number 10 and “Don’t Tell Me” scored them another number eight chart hit.
The epic synth pop of “Waves”and a cover of Abba’s “The Day Before You Came” illustrated a band who were always willing to change and adapt new styles within their electronic framework.
Currently Blancmange can be heard in everything from La Roux to LCD Sound System to Hot Chip. Alongside their contemporaries, The Human League, Magazine, Depeche Mode and Soft Cell, Blancmange are recognised as electro-pop pioneers.
Faithless recently covered the band’s dance floor classic “Feel Me”, La Roux have included the Blancmange B-side “What’s Your Problem” on their “Side Tracked” compilation, with sleeve notes proclaiming“ …the Blue Print for Hot Chip”.
The band’s admirers include Moby, who said: “Listening to Blancmange Obsessively. Probably the most under-rated electronic act of all time.” John Grant is a big fan, too: “Blancmange have been a part of the soundtrack to my life ever since ‘Happy Families’ was released.”
Since illness forced Blancmange’s Stephen Luscombe to stop touring or recording after 2011’s “Blanc Burn”, the band’s evolution has continued with Neil Arthur at the helm.
Reaching new audiences within the dance music scene from collaborations with Kincaid, John Grant, Disco Halal to forthcoming remixes from Honey Dijon and Roman Flugel, which will be released on London Records.
Neil Arthur and Stephen Luscombe first got together in 1979, creating home-made, ‘cassette tape’ music with vacuum cleaners and kitchen utensils, before their debut EP in 1980.
A year later their “gorgeously fragile” track “Sad Day” appeared on Stevo’s 1981 “Some Bizzarre” compilation album which documents underground electronic bands of the era – including The The and Soft Cell. London Records heard the track and signed them to a record deal.
The band‘s new album “Mindset“ is slated for release on 22nd May by Blank Check Records, and Neil Arthur is raring to get out and play the new songs, and more: “We’re looking forward to giving the new songs from the album ‘Mindset’ a good blast on tour.
“That, alongside songs not so new and those not so old, we’ll be making a fair amount of electronic noise, which will be moving in a Northernly direction. Visibility good”.
Photo: Piers Allardyce