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Irene & Mavis - EP

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Customer Reviews



It's Blancmange, Jim, but not as we know it...

First, a little history lesson - this is Blancmange's first release, which originally appeared as a limited edition 33⅓ RPM 7" back in 1980, a year before their first "real label" exposure on the legendary _Some Bizzare Album_ and two years before their first "real label" single in 1982.

Those used to later Blancmange releases will find only hints here of the band that was to be in Neil Arthur's distinctively Lancastrian vocals, and some of the more melodic synthesizer material shares the same fragile, wistful sound that characterized "Sad Day" on _Some Bizzarre Album_ and their later instrumental material. However, a lot of the material will be be very different to what those familiar with their later material might expect - this is to the familiar Blancmange what The Future was to The Human League, 4-track British home studio electronics that's more akin to contemporaries such as Cabaret Voltaire or Throbbing Gristle, with perhaps a little touch of Suicide. So expect primitive electronics, distortion, electronic experimentation and downright noise. Anybody looking for "Living On The Ceiling" is going to be in for a nasty shock. One or two tracks give hints as to what Blancmange would eventually become, but, well, read the title of this review.

I'd imagine this is of interest primarily to fans of the late 70s British electronic/industrial scene that gave birth to the early 80s synthpop boom (amongst others), or to Blancmange completists - with the vinyl of this a long unavailable rarity, it's nice to see material like this that would otherwise have been unlikely even to warrant a limited CD release appearing. However, the appeal of the music itself is pretty limited by its experimental nature - while it's interesting to hear Blancmange's infancy, the significance of this release is more as a historical record of the band's very beginnings than anything else - throw it in a playlist with the later albums and "Shuffle All" at your own peril.


Formed: January, 1979 in London, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '80s, '10s

Taking their name from a type of cooked pudding, the electronic duo Blancmange interlaced the arty, exotic dance rhythms of Talking Heads with the quirky melodrama of early-'80s British synth pop. Consisting of Neil Arthur (vocals, guitar) and Stephen Luscombe (keyboards), Blancmange formed in London, England in the late '70s. Originally called L360, Blancmange received immediate recognition when they sent the song "Sad Day" to DJ Stevo, who added it to a compilation LP of then-unsigned new wave...
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Irene & Mavis - EP, Blancmange
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