As Blancmange prepare to play Liverpool Arts Club, Getintothis’s Banjo looks at their very singular run of form.
When Blancmange reformed in 2011, they did something very unusual.
They avoided the trap of becoming what is referred to as a ‘Heritage Band’ playing their best known songs to nostalgic audiences and have, almost against the rules of bands reforming, become in effect a new band. In fact, their reunion was marked with the release of their first album in over a quarter of a century, Blanc Burn.
Blanc Burn was an odd album, with Blancmange’s trademark quirky pop almost entirely absent and replaced with bleeps, beats and tales of Northern life.
Since then, there has been a stream of new releases, with Semi Detached in 2014, Commuter 23 two years later and Unfurnished Rooms in 2017. Most recently, their Wanderlust album was released in April of this year. Add in tours supporting these new releases and you cold be forgiven for thinking that this sounds like the schedule of a new band, rather than one who has the option of resting on their considerable laurels and playing the Rewind festivals of the world and earning a decent living.
The road that Blancmange have chosen may be less commercially rewarding, but one suspects it is much more creatively gratifying. And this speaks volumes about who and what Blancmange are.
These days Blancmange is basically Neil Arthur, with Stephen Luscombe retiring due to ill health. The run of albums mentioned above have made an impressive addition to Blancmange part one. Latest album Wanderlust is their best yet, full of dark pop hooks and clever lyrics. Blancmange must be alone in this, creating career best music this far into their career. The only other of their peers still capable of this must surely be New Order. The difference is Blancmange are capable of releasing their album every two years or so.
2019 sees them return to Liverpool Arts Club, where they played in March of this year, when Getintothis observed: “Blancmange stormed the Arts Club this Saturday night. If you get the chance to see Blancmange live do so, as much for the infectious performance as the quality of songs.”
Well, here’s your chance.
Blancmange will play:
Friday April 26 – Chinnerys, Southend
Friday May – The Leadmill, Sheffield
Saturday May 4 – Arts Club – Main Room, Liverpool
Friday 10 May – Gorilla, Manchester
Saturday May 11 – Hare & Hounds, Birmingham