“Through mutations and lineups and 40+ years, The Stranglers are always The Stranglers; Always present, still moving, for better …Or worse.”
“40 years worth of love and half blind adoration has gathered us here to sing to hymns from ‘The Crack’; The Ruts ’79 debut album. Thick with punk’s grit and gristle and dub-reggae tricks it’s a head above pure protest thrash.”
“Dumpunk and primal clubstomp screw-you, wrapped in black and white twilight night static.”
Beauty and compromise run deep through the veins that are stitched into each ebb and flow. Contorted and kept just a shade out of shape, free-flowing down straights and restricted at angles, I find myself pressed and pinched then released by the unnatural designs of the album’s ambitions.
Slung back and forth through an excess-free set… Everything’s played like it’s fresh out the meat locker, everything’s keen and still glowing.
The Bodega’s gone dayglow. Neon rimmed specs at ready. Cameras are snapping at the pre-Henge show build up through prisms for retro effects. They catch alien spikes made of sprayed woven hair and fairy lights stitched into clothing, I look around at the faithful and made-up I and flash back to festival memories…
Analogue maps of waking states, organic contortions and textures…. Breakbeat and jungle get stripped to essentials, then stripped down again to an essence.
Harsh isolation, dystopian dreamscapes, semi-connected catharsis caught up in electronic precision.
That’s the evolving sound of Blancmange 2.0; collections of stripped down half hooks, building in escalating elaborations, repeated in sheets of thin ice and cool water. This is Neil Arthur from 2016’s Unfurnished Rooms, through to 2017’s Fader and Near Future, through this year’s Blancmange album Wonderlust.
Riot tinged pop and protest promotion… But I feel safer than I should be feeling.
(…and just what it means to want to be ‘somewhere else’)
A show reviewed last year at Rescue Rooms, Nottingham was the first time I really encountered Blancmange. I’d had an awareness, an occasional knowledge of the odd track or accolade, but that show was my main introduction.
Right after the show, once the lights got turned up, I tried grabbing a couple of words. It was last night of tour and then wasn’t the time but I was assured I could grab a word sometime.