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Happy Families Too

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Album Review

A duo that broke up in 1987 and re-formed in 2011, Blancmange were always synth pop's odd pair out, coming on with the whimsy of Telex and Sparks while delivering a firm dance beat like Yazoo or early Depeche Mode. Then there were the tablas that spiced up some of their best songs, songs which ranged from the up-and-angsty dancefloor favorite "Living on the Ceiling" to the wistful and warm ballad "Waves." Both of those '80s favorites are re-recorded here, as is the rest of the group's 1987 debut album, Happy Families, here delivered with a modern boom for the bass along with some other minor touches that hardcore fans will enjoy. "Waves" is arguably the best update, as vocalist Neil Arthur has enough mileage on him to deliver the passionate number with whole heart, while instrumentalist Stephen Luscombe roughs the original music a bit, making this identifiably post-Aphex Twin, post-Björk, and post-glitch. The dance numbers get some added twists while the bonus remixes, the best being from Depeche and Erasure's Vince Clarke, are a full-on celebration of the little synth pop band that could. Happy Families Too is unnecessary, admirable, or awesome depending on your viewpoint, but that third classification is certain for anyone who adored the original.

Customer Reviews

Love the updated versions!

I think it's realy rad that all these 80's electronic/ new wave artists are re- making their albums and putting an updated twist on them cause some songs on this album are better than the original, such as "wasted", " kind", "cruel" and "running thin" those are my favorites- very good vocals and keyboards (to be honest I didn't like those songs before lol!- now, I love the new versions!). The song "living on ceiling" wasn't included cause I'm sorry but nothing tops the original version but however, the Vincent Clarke Remix is definitely very good, worth buying. Overall, the whole album is worth the $10.99 price even though they're not the original versions.

One of the best dance bands you haven't heard of.

I was fortunate enough to have danced on the ceiling
Etc to this band. I could never figure out why more people didn't credit them with being one of the more important 80's bands. They were. Now now retro collection is complete w/o them.

Sound is horrible

I loved this band, but these re-recordings are awful. The sound is mushy and not at all what they sounded like on the records. The songs deserve better than this. Too bad.

Biography

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...
Full Bio
Happy Families Too, Blancmange
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