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Private View

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A couple of weeks prior to our meeting, Neil had tweeted a picture of himself wearing the Indian-style linen tunic he’d first sported 38 years earlier, in the video for ‘The Day Before You Came’ – an Abba cover flavoured with the santoor and tabla of regular collaborators Deepak Khazanchi and Pandit Dinesh. All the sounds and feels you'd want if you love Stephen's previous bands, but with some new twists and ideas keeping it fresh. This neat full circle of Blancmange re-signing to the same label that ignited things all those years ago is also reflected in the album itself, being the perfect crystallisation of four decades of creativity. Helen and I have had our ups and downs, but we’ve been together for over forty years now,” beams Neil.

She was thinking she’d just knock on the stage door, and somebody would say ‘I’ll take all the gear in! It’s a sweaty, sticky afternoon on London’s South Bank, and we’re sitting outside a cafe round the back of the Royal Festival Hall. David Rhodes and Dinesh were in hysterics, and Stephen had his back to me in his sari… I thought ‘Oh God, he’s really pissed off with me’. Happy showers come and go / Migrating birds have my view / Have a pleasant trip…’ I’m sorry about this, it’s very embarrassing. Since reforming in 2011 (Luscombe left shortly after for health reasons) Arthur has harnessed a duality of experimentation and seamless pop melody to release a staggering 10 albums in the last decade.And the explanation offers a further fascinating insight into the “Everything Is Connected” school of Neil Arthur lyric-writing. Continuing FADER partner Benge as producer who worked on the recent BLANCMANGE albums ‘Unfurnished Rooms’, ‘Wanderlust’, ‘Mindset’ and ‘Commercial Break’, ‘Private View’ presents a striking opener in ‘What’s Your Name’; not a cover of the 1981 DEPECHE MODE tune, despite a sparse vibey start, it strums and crashes into action while Arthur uses a manipulated voice treatment to give a sense of other worldly alienation away from the indie rock track that this could easily be. Long-standing admirers include Moby , John Grant and Honey Dijon , who states that “ British synth pop was hugely influential in the burgeoning house music scene and Blancmange was a big part of that.

Originally from the UK’s post punk DIY scene, Blancmange found success in 1982, long player Happy Families selling Gold in the UK, and its 3 singles becoming international hits. sees our hero lost and forlorn while ‘Everything Is Connected’ offers a strange kind of eerie indie electro-funk but while not a reprise of ‘Feel Me’, it is as the title suggests, part of the lineage.

Private View is set for release on London Records almost exactly 40 years to the day since they released their debut, Happy Families.

And in terms of other musician friends… I knew people, but I also had the same group of mates from up north and from college down here. Blancmange vocalist Neil Arthur has been keeping busy since their 80s synthpop heyday, with Private View their 16th album. It’s a sumptuous motorik ballad where Arthur declares he is “lost without love” although this ending provides the best song on ‘Private View’.

But I wanted it to be out there as an emotional thing, and of course I disguise my lyrics a little bit – it’s not straight down the line. Beautiful piano, keyboards and guitar combine to make one of the best melodies Arthur has ever written. Consenting to these technologies will allow us to process data such as browsing behavior or unique IDs on this site. I was thinking about the difficulties everyone is going through, and about the people that aren’t here any more. Take the aforementioned ‘Everything Is Connected’: “Hang the washing out / Do the washing up / Close the door and then lock it”.

Lean and tanned, with cropped hair and beard, he still plays proper, competitive football in an Over-50s FA League. True, but what’s great about Blancmange is that the songs never feel like they’re self-consciously about Big Things. We discuss the fortunes of his beloved Blackburn Rovers, his fascination with white plastic chairs, his current favourite album (“ Waves by Low Altitude – absolutely bloody gorgeous”) and the cover art of Private View – a pixelated photo of his art student daughter, Eleanor. Originally a duo comprising of Neil Arthur and Stephen Luscombe, the pair released a further two albums ‘Mange Tout’ and ‘Believe You Me’ before going on a lengthy hiatus.One of my regular walks when I lived in South London was to get off at Charing Cross and walk across Trafalgar Square to the National Gallery. Register for a See account here to import your Spotify library or ‘follow’ artists you find on our site to add them to your ‘favourites’.

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