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Biting Tongues

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This Manchester, England-based unit was formed by Graham Massey and Howard Walmsley in 1980, ostensibly to provide soundtracks for the latter’s live film screenings. With Massey on guitar and Walmsley on saxophone, they added local writer Ken Hollings as vocalist, Colin Seddon on bass and Eddie Sherwood on drums. Fusing jazz, punk and dance music influences, Biting Tongues went on to release four albums over the 80s, the last of which saw them move to influential Manchester independent Factory Records. By this time Hollings and Sherwood had both departed, the latter going on to join Simply Red. Their replacements were Basil Clarke (vocals) and Phil Kirby (drums). The Factory album, accompanied by singles ‘Trouble Hand’ and ‘Compressor’, acted as a soundtrack to another Walmsley film (in addition, there was a full-scale video album in 1988, Wall Of Surf). However, as the 80s progressed, Clarke and Kirby drifted off into the ranks of the increasingly successful Yargo, leaving the band’s founding duo to return to work on video/soundtracks. A fifth album was aborted when their fifth record company, Cut Deep, collapsed. A final single, ‘Love Out’, was issued, after which Massey moved on to 808 State, while Walmsley returned to full-time film and video pursuits, among his other engagements, constructing visuals for his old partner’s new group.

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