Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Blancmange - Mange Tout

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Mange Tout, the second studio album from the British synth duo of Neil Arthur and Stephen Luscombe, better known as Blancmange. The 1984 release went to number 46 in New Zealand, number 41 in Canada, number 28 in Germany, number 16 in the Netherlands, and number 8 in the UK. Here in the US, it spent three weeks on the Billboard Album chart and peaked at number 204.

Side one begins with the bouncy beats of "Don't Tell Me". As the third single, it reached number 44 on the US Billboard Dance chart and number 8 in the UK. I definitely remember this song, but I can't be sure if it was from listening to the radio back in 1984 or if it was from more recent years on SiriusXM's First Wave. In either case, it is an infectiously peppy tune.

The dance party continues with "Game Above My Head".

The first single "Blind Vision" went to number 10 in the UK and number 3 on the US Billboard Dance chart.

Things slow down a bit with the dramatic piano and orchestrated ballad "Time Became the Tide".

"That's Love, That It Is", the second single, went to number 33 in the UK and number 16 on the US Billboard Dance chart. This one reminds me of tracks by Dead Or Alive, another UK synth-dance band that I enjoy.

Side two starts with "Murder", a bit darker and heavier dance number. The song is about being pushed to the brink, and that one last step could lead to deadly consequences.

The acapella "See the Train" is unexpected and refreshingly different at this point in the record.

The synths and percussion return on "All Things Are Nice". The whispered vocals are a little tough to decipher on first pass though. The audio sampling from film and news broadcasts work well here.

"My Baby" breaks out next. I like the Latin undertones on this one.

The album closes with a cover of "The Day Before You Came" first released by ABBA in 1982. As a single, Blancmange's version went to number 22 in the UK. Very familiar with the original, I really like how the guys have matched the music elements; until the vocals kicked in I would have sworn it was ABBA's version.

This was my first listen to Mange Tout (thanks, YouTube) and I really liked it a lot. If I had heard this one from Blancmange back in 1984, I most definitely would have picked it up. It was exactly the type of synth-dance music I was totally into back then. Sadly, this one is not for sale on any of my favorite digital marketplaces, and the import CD commands a very high price. Maybe someday I will be able to pick it up for an affordable price.

1 comment:

Mark said...

I'm surprised how little attention Blancmange was given here in the US. I remember the seeing their video for their 1982 single, "Living on the Ceiling" on MTV but I haven't heard much else. But if you say you like, that's good enough for me - I'll check 'em out.