Category: Modern English

Modern English – Ricochet Days

ARTIST: Modern English 220px-RicochetDays

TITLE: Ricochet Days

YEAR RELEASED: 1984

CHART ACTION: #93 US, #5 UK Indie

SINGLES: Chapter 12 (#15 UK Indie), Hands Across the Sea (#91 US)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Nah

LINEUP: Robbie Grey, Gary McDowell, Michael Conroy, Richard Brown, Stephen Walker

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: After “THE HIT”, they surprisingly don’t try to really replicate it, instead to sticking what they’ve done otherwise.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: You make a big hit record, they (the industry) expect everything else to be the same or similar to the hit. Modern English didn’t do that.

Sure, they added a bit more sheen and polish, and maybe in “Hands Across the Sea” a hook or three, but stuck to their atmospheric post-punk for the most part. That’s kind of refreshing in of itself.

It’s a decent enough record, with some of their old fashioned gothy moody post punk. It won’t make you jump out of your chair, but it’ll do.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: After this, they moved from 4AD, got glossier, broke up, got back together, broke up, reunited again, and kind of soldiered on.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, different mixes and B-sides, of course

 GRADE B-: Better than their debut but doesn’t have a standout track.

Modern English – After the Snow

ARTIST: Modern English 220px-After_the_Snow_-_Modern_English

TITLE: After the Snow

YEAR RELEASED: 1982

CHART ACTION: #70 US, #13 UK Indie

SINGLES: Life in the Gladhouse (#26 UK Indie), I Melt with You (#78 US, #60 Dance, #7 US Rock, #18 UK Indie), Someone’s Calling (#43 UK Indie)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I don’t think so.

LINEUP: Robbie Grey, Gary McDowell, Michael Conroy, Richard Brown, Stephen Walker

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Post-punk band emphasizes more keyboards, and brightens their sound, and record one of the 80’s MTV anthems.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Had you not gotten your MTV yet, but somehow got this album from a UK post-punk friend, you’d notice that the first side was a better, brighter sounding rendition of their gothy, moody tunes – more in line with their singles than their album tracks. Still, arty and all that. Not pop records, really.

Then, Side 2 has THAT SONG. You know….”I Melt with You”. It doesn’t matter that the rest of the album is kind of filler-y and back to the ol’ moody atmosphere. THAT SONG overwhelms everything.

There are nice nuggets on Side 1, essential listening for you gothy post-punkers out there. In fact, I bought this after hearing “Face of Wood” being played in a record store. But, 80’s new wavers may be disappointed.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: For some damn reason, the band remade “I Melt with You” in 1990 and don’t even think about it.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, different mixes and B-sides

 GRADE B+: Better than their debut and it has THAT SONG. Since no compilation is streaming now, just grab this and be done with them.

Modern English – Mesh and Lace

ARTIST: Modern English 220px-Mesh_&_Lace_cover

TITLE: Mesh and Lace

YEAR RELEASED: 1981

CHART ACTION: #5 UK Indie

SINGLES: None on the album, but they’re bonus tracks.

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Not on this one

LINEUP: Robbie Grey, Gary McDowell, Michael Conroy, Richard Brown, Stephen Walker

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Post-punk band is Joy Division-lite, all mood and atmosphere with only a few compelling tracks.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Forming in 1979, signed by 4AD in 1980, and releasing this in 1981, Modern English were fast-tracked into the post-punk world and the Joy Division sector of that world. Their debut album contains none of their singles (I never understand this), and only a few album cuts rise to the occasion.

Atmosphere and mood are the keywords here. Everything is moody and stark and while some melodies and other parts escape, most of the time they’re hidden in the mood, whether it’s a slow or fast tempo. Also, the intros to the songs are long and tedious at times. You know, setting the mood for art and all.

If you missed this, don’t worry. Nothing here reminds me of their MTV hit. If you’re into the moody pre-goth post-punk era, indulge at your whim.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They used to be The Lepers, but changed that quickly. Also, the title cut was a B-side that didn’t make the album.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, with singles and B-sides. Weirdly, one of the singles (“Gathering Dust” (#36 UK Indie)) starts the deluxe CD. The other singles added were “Swans on Glass” (#46 UK Indie) and “Smiles and Laughter” (#16 UK Indie).

GRADE C+: All depends on your love for moody gothy post-punk. The bonus cuts make the package much more palatable.