80s icons Blancmange all set for Stroud gig
By David Wood
Iconic 80s synth/pop icons Blancmange are playing in Stroud on Saturday (October 8) as part of a nationwide tour.
Frontman Neil Arthur won't have far to travel to the Subscription Rooms for the gig as he lives in Stroud these days.
Blancmange have just released their new album 'Private View' (their 18th), which arrives almost exactly 40 years since their original breakthrough record 'Happy Families'.
The show will see the electronic icons joined by special guests Oblong.
Across the new album, 'Private View', there's a deft marriage of futuristic electronic sounds, Arthur's unmistakable vocal hooks, and songs that veer from buoyant and joyful to dark and brooding.
Benge returns as a key collaborator, and David Rhodes (Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, Scott Walker) returns as the guitarist, having previously performed with the band on 1982's debut Happy Families (as well as several other Blancmange albums)
In their post-punk early days, Blancmange made tape loops and experimental sounds with kitchen utensils, before developing into one of the definitive chart-topping British electronic pop acts.
Since reforming in 2011 Arthur has harnessed a duality of experimentation and seamless pop melody to release a staggering 10 albums in the last decade.
"I don't know whether I'm on a roll but I feel something in me has been released," he says. "I used to hold back and I didn't trust myself. While I'm still full of self-doubt I'm now quite comfortable with it. This is it. We've only got one time around the block, so make the most of it."
The past is used as a trigger to create new ideas and build fresh momentum, not as somewhere to linger.
"A lot of people are frightened of the future and are quite happy to have a repeat of something that was done before," he says. "But it's just not for me. Looking forward you've got a hell of a world to try and navigate through at the moment. We're all moving forward - so we've got to try and find some answers."
Private View is a record that manages to capture an artist who is potently in the moment when it comes to creating new work, while also being able to draw on 40 years' worth of knowledge, experience and built-in intuition.
"I'm really lucky to be able to make the music completely on my own terms," Arthur says. "Within myself there are no limits, there's a massive palette inside and I will try anything."
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