Monday, February 26, 2007

The Forgotten Records #9 - Blancmange

Time for another episode of the Forgotten Records. The early 80's were a grim period in music, in my humble opinion. It was the era of one-hit wonders, maybe more so than the garage rock days of the mid 60's. The difference though is that so many 'bands' of the 8o's were nothing more than soul-less electronic duos or trios, indistinguishable from one to the other. At least the garage rock bands has some raw appeal; the 8o's synth-pop groups were often as synthetic as their instruments. Thankfully, we had the Talking Heads, U2, REM and some good indie music to save our souls.

Once such one hit wonder was the Brit duo Blancmange, a meteor of obscurity that scored with Living on the Ceiling in 1982. Chances are you have not thought about this song in 25 years, or more likely, you've never heard it, though it reached #7 in the UK. Blancmange, named after a gelatin-like dessert (literal translation from French is 'white eat'), had a smattering of hits, peaking with this track, that combined Middle Eastern flavors with a pulsing dance beat. The sound was very similar to Simple Minds. Lead singer/guitarist Neil Arthur and keyboardist Stephen Luscombe broke up in 1986, never to be heard from again (at least to my knowledge). Imagine my surprise when I learned that the band has reformed, has a MySpace, and is writing new material.

This post would not be complete without mentioning the epic Monty Python sci-fi movie skit where giant alien blancmanges turn Englishmen into Scots, consume tennis players and actually play tennis. It was obvious of course that "they mean to win Wimbledon." Thankfully, the alien pudding was thawarted by Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Brainsample, who turn out to be from the same planet as the blancmanges, but I digress.

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