aka The Vinyl Villain incorporating Sexy Loser
007 – BLANCMANGE – ‚I’ve Seen The Word’ (London Records, ’82)
“grievously underrated” – that’s always the first term I think of when it comes to the subject of Blancmange. ‘Yes, especially with fresh berries!’, I hear you say, ‘but this old synth-pop duo with that name sucked mightily!!’
Oh, you could not be more wrong, you ignorant little twerps: just because they used synthesizers, it doesn’t automatically make them unlistenable to! And just because they came to our attention together with quite a lot of – admittedly – crap new wave bands, it doesn’t automatically make them a crap new wave band as well! And, finally, just because they had a string of hit singles (“Blind Vision,” “Don’t Tell Me,” “Living On The Ceiling,” “Lose Your Love,” “That’s Love, That It Is” and “Waves“), it doesn’t make them lose their indie attitude.
Those of you with a certain age might remember the groundbreaking ‘Some Bizarre Album’, the label-compilation from 1981. It paved the ground, at least it did for me, for music I never heard before since then. ‘Sad Day’, Blancmange’s contribution to the compilation, was fine, but certainly not my favorite. Perhaps I was too cool to enjoy instrumentals back then. Most probably I was. In fact, it was Depeché Mode’s ‘Photographic’ that blew me away. Still, it is Blancmange that Daniel Miller out of Mute Records once described as “The Maiden Aunts of Techno” … not entirely wrong, if you ask me. And also, if you ask me, if Blancmange were the aunts, then Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft would have been the uncles of Techno …. but I digress.
Either way, in order to come to the music (and to an end here, I’m sure you’ll be relieved), one year after the Some Bizarre-compilation, more or less along with ‘Living On The Ceiling’ and ‘Feel Me’, this little gem came to my attention:
mp3: Blancmange – I’ve Seen The Word
One of the more tranquil choices within this series, I agree. Nothing wrong with that though, as far as I’m concerned. In my humble opinion this song is their finest hour, although by and large all they ever released has stood the test of time and is still well worth listening to … singles, albums, everything.
You know what to do now.
Take good care & enjoy,
9 thoughts on “ONE HUNDRED AND ELEVEN SINGLES : #007”
I’m a big fan of Blancmange (the band, less so the dessert) so this is literally music to my ears, Dirk.
I was fortunate enough to see them perform live last October (https://dubhed.blogspot.com/2022/10/picking-up-where-we-left-off.html). They were in very fine form and included an excellent performance of I’ve Seen The Word.
Sadly, Stephen Luscombe is no longer an active member but Blancmange’s prolific output in the 21st century has been really good.
A trivial fact: I have the 12″ single, which flips the double A side, so God’s Kitchen has pole position on the sleeve and features as an extended version. A much treasured single in my collection.
Blancmange. Possibly one of the most under-rated bands of many eras with absolutely some of the best lyrics.
Happy Families is a thing of joy. I can’t, I won’t be without it. I’ve bored the arse off people for decades about this remarkable pop gem. I still do.
I’ve Seen The Word should have been huge. It wasn’t. Blancmange were definitely a so-called synth pop duo of their time but there was something ‘more’ about them. Depeche Mode became different. Blancmange were different. There weren’t many so-called synth pop acts with Neil’s vocal delivery – see God’s Kitchen.
I’m a big fan of Sad Day and often wonder if Neil might pen and sing a lyric for it.
This post really has made my coffee so much sweeter.
@khayem: Our posts overlapped. Just read your blog post. I’d urge anyone to see Blancmange live. I saw them for the first time in 2011 (I think?) – a long held desire achieved. It was stunning. Tracks from the then new LP Blanc Burn sat perfectly with what had come before. It was celebratory – of the moment – not revionist. Stephen was scheduled to play the gigs but pulled out due to experiencing an aneurysm – later, deciding to say goodbye to Blancmange for good. I was sad to hear the news about Stephen and a little disappointed I’d never get to see the ‘real’ Blancmange live. However, Neil made reference to Stephen throughout the gig which was incredibly touching.
“I’ve Seen The word” was the first track I heard by Blancmange (on Annie Nightingale’s post-chart Sunday show), so it has special significance for me. I taped it that night along with other songs from the show. And listened to it incessantly until I got enough money together to buy it. By that time it wasn’t;t available and I bought “Feel Me” instead. And so started a mini obsession with the band. The songs on Happy Families and Mange Tout are fantastic (The Day Before You Came is THE ABBA cover version, in Bjorn and Benny’s opinion), Believe You Me carries on with the ‘raga-based’ sounds. The newer stuff harks back to the first ‘Irene & Mavis’ EP and beyond. Neil is such a great vocalist and front man, gigs are full of humour and love for Stephen. One of my favourite bands.
This took me way back. I have always been a big Blancmange fan. And I love a post that mentions D.A.F.
“grievously underrated” could not agree more. Seems like a good candidate for an imaginary comp….
oh oops. nevermind 😀
Great song, Dirk. I always liked that guy’s vocals.
Nice two course meal of Happy Families and Neil’s solo CD “Suitcase”; such a distinctive voice and synth work.