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4.3 out of 5 stars15
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 2 November 2014
Before I start, this is my opinion, so don't kill me if you disagree, guys!

My introduction to Blancmange was through their song "Living on the Ceiling", which I really love. I had listened to it many times before buying "Happy Families Too...The Story So Far...". As soon as I played this particular CD, however, I was slightly disappointed. Why? Two reasons:
1) Living on the Ceiling was roughly 20 seconds shorter than the version I had listened to; more specifically, part of the introduction music was shorter
2) The version I had listened to sounded more "echoey", for lack of a better word, and louder. It had more punch/impact. This version sounded a little muffled/muted.

I then did a little research and discovered that this new release had been re-recorded and was a re-interpretation using more modern instruments as opposed to classic retro ones, which I assume is the cause of the muffled sound (I am not a music expert, so please correct me on anything I've said wrong).

The songs themselves and the rhythm etc are excellent otherwise but I would prefer if the original album was re-released as it was but with "cleaner sound" etc. For now, I'll make do with my Blancmange Platinum Collection, which is one of the older releases.
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on 16 April 2014
For anyone initially doubtful, if you are a Blancmange fan then this is a must have album! The only reason I'm giving 4 stars is that some of the intensity that I loved so much in the original, including the female BVs on "Can't Explain" and "Feel Me", has been dropped for a more minimal feel. The arrangements are still generally excellent, with all tracks staying pretty true to the originals, and most of the remixes on this 2014 edition are really strong (yet to fully get my head around the rather odd "Cruel" Komputer Remix).

Neil's interviews recently confirm Stephen is unfortunately not currently involved with Blancmange, due to health, and this is at times very apparent. His vocals are strong and high in the mix, but sometimes the backing does not develop much through the track. Each track was reconsidered, and there is a lot of fun going on in the arrangements. It's also great to see a new take on "Running Thin" added to the album, as it was a classy b-side.

There are some credited female BVs on the first 2 tracks, but they are so quiet that they left me a bit frustrated and wanting the original arrangement even more. Personal taste, ofcourse!
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on 30 April 2015
When this album was about to be released I questioned the reasons behind it. After all the original was pretty good and is held even now in high regard. Why risk something that could sully the reputation of the original recording? However, having heard the new mixes and recordings I kind of get it. Reinventing good solid songs almost breathes a new life into them, makes them fresher. It almost works. Feel me now is more jauntier and is perhaps the song that has most benefited from the re recording. Waves is punchier and overall the songs are given just enough of a subtle change so that you realise they have been given a face lift, but they are still very recognisable. Is it better? I think probably not, but that may be because I love the original so much. Is it worth buying? Probably.
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on 12 March 2016
A 21st century remake of Blancmange's brilliant début album from 1982 and it's great! If you loved the original album then you'll love the new version. It stays so true to the original it's almost identical. However there are slightly subtle changes everywhere, most notably of course the use of more modern technology in the recording process compared to the often temperamental analogue gadgets used over 30 years ago! Arthur remains in fine voice and his vocals here don't sound all that different to his vocals in 1982. A fitting 30th anniversary tribute to their début!
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on 20 May 2015
Happy Families has been within my all time top ten albums ever since I was a kid in the mid 80's. Just discovered Happy Families too and thought I wouldn't like it at first after loving such a classic album but pleasantly surprised. All the tracks from the original done in a modern setting. If you are a fan of Blancmange like me well worth listerning to the whole album before deciding. I have always loved the classic album cover and this done in alternative way both interesting and amusing. Didn't give a whole 5 stars simply because that is for the original alone!
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on 2 May 2014
Love this album ,Blancmange have always been a big favourite of mine ,and I have to say this album is I think there best ever ,new ,not remixes but new fresh takes on there best known popular hits are amazingly done and the new songs are just fab ,and what cant I say about Neil Arthur ,an amazingly talented man with one of the most best voices ever ,I could go on ,but I love this album ,love Blancmange .buy it .
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on 26 May 2014
Totally new version of the classic must buy album of the 80s

Bought the original vinyl of the day of release and loved it ever since.

Was a bit sceptical that it couldn't be bettered but this is a really great CD

The extras are impressive as well.

Well recommended
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on 8 April 2014
If you are into Blancmange or enjoy them live then this is one to get.
The remixes are value alone.
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on 10 June 2014
Sometimes the new arrangements are more sparse that the originals but that does not mean they are worse. The remixes are all excellent. A great companion to the original album.
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on 18 May 2014
a fantastic re make of a classic brining it to a new audience of listeners. The album is worth buying even just for the Vince Clarke re mix of living on the ceiling.
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