BLANCMANGE: Happy Families Too…: CD

Blancmange was formed in Harrow, Middlesex in 1979 by singer Neil Arthur (born 15 June 1958, Darwen, Lancashire) and instrumentalists Stephen Luscombe (born 29 October 1954, Hillingdon, Middlesex) and Laurence Stevens. Stevens left shortly after the band was formed, and Arthur and Luscombe continued as a duo. Their debut album, Happy Families (which featured a sleeve painting in the style of Louis Wain and of the cover artwork of Enid Blyton’s books), reached the top 30. This is the revamped and re-recorded first album without partner Luscombe.

I loved the original album when it first came out and played it all of the time and was a bit scared as to how this would turn out. My fears were unfounded, he has done an amazing job with this album and the versions on here. Everything is fairly faithful to the originals except the technology has been updated and it sounds less raw now, but I really didn’t mind that. You can hear how he has taken the album and changed a few things, like the difference between the original version of “Living On The Ceiling,” and the version on here which is a bit stiffer, and the waves taken off of “Waves.” It was a nice touch to add the b-side of “Living On The Ceiling,” “Running Thin.” The four bonus remixes at the end are a nice update to the originals, especially “Feel Me (Greg Wilson & Derek Kaye Remix),” and “God’s Kitchen (Komputer Remix).”

This won’t please everyone, but if you come into it with an open mind and think about how Arthur probably gets bored of hearing it the same way for over thirty years now, and he just wanted to kick it up a notch. I’m glad that he did it and hopefully it gets people back into his band, as well as other bands from this era that are still out there making music and trying to do things a bit differently.

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