19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Classic pop gem unearthed,
This review is from: Mange Tout (Audio CD)
This album has been a long time coming on cd. A top 10 hit upon release its long been unavailiable and this massively expanded edition finally puts things right.
Blancmange were that particularily 80's phenomenon of the "synth duo". However unlike the likes of Soft Cell, Erasure and the Pet Shop Boys they were musical collaborators from day one. Their debut album, Happy Families, didnt simply rely on vocals and keyboards but contained a whole slew of guest musicians and vocalists. This follow up is more of the same - musical collaborators run well into double figures and there is a real drive to create an expansive sound and widescreen palate.
This was too much for some (including some fans of the debut) and may explain why the band never kicked on from here and their third album went almost unnoticed before the band faded away. Tracks like Murder, All Things Are Nice and See The Train are hard to classify. The first two are noisy semi instrumentals and the latter an acapella folkish number. These album tracks are wildly at odds with the poppy singles (Dont Tell Me, The Day Before You Came) and some people found this just too much to handle.
But, playing this album again so many years on, its amazing how well its aged. In fact I was shocked how good it all is and alot of that is down to the sympathetic remastering. Suddenly the second half of the album makes alot more sense as the sound isnt so sludgey as the analogue version. The layers and textures sound great and it gives the album a more cohesive feel.
Its an incredibly strong set of songs (including 4 top 40 singles) and Id forgotten how good the sequencing was - playing all 10 album tracks in one sitting has a nice symmetry about it and I'm glad the extra tracks are all confined to a second disc (apart from one which seems to work in the context of the original running order).
The extras disc varies slightly in quality (the b sides of Dont Tell Me really are awful) but when its good - its very, very good. Vishnu (live favourite from the Mange Tout tour) has the epic full seven minute version that I reckon you could drop into a DJ set now and nobody would guess it was from the mid 80's. Add this to the extended (and more funky) versions of Blind Vision and Thats Love That It Is and you have a trio of real floor fillers. In addition there is the excellent All Things Are Nice (Version) which is social realism meets backwards synth pop and the full, epic and utterly gorgeous 12" mix of The Day Before You Came.
All this for a mid price album remastered with extensive sleeve notes. It really is a real bargain.