Today’s band is one that became a household name in the mid-1980s based on a one-off hit, but hasn’t made any commercial impact since, lost in the hearts of 80s nostalgia and easily dismissed as a one-hit wonder. Truth is that today’s band, Modern English, were more than capable of writing a myriad of other amazing songs, and a handful of seminal records in an emerging post-punk scene, even if they went mostly ignored by all but the impassioned.
This Essex-based band originally began in 1977, originally christened the Lepers. The band released a one-off single before changing their name to Modern English and signing to a budding 4AD records, the band being the first that Ivo Watts-Russel approached after creating the label. Both stylistically, and commercially, Modern English helped put the label on the map.
Musically, the band originally drew heavily from the doom and gloom of fellow contemporaries Joy Division and Bauhaus, a rude awakening for fans who stumbled across them after the perfect pop song ‘I Melt With You from their 1982 sophomore record, After the Snow.
Pressured after such a large success, the band fell apart after one more record, two of the original members departing for greener pastures, but instead of a side-project, the band revamped and kept pushing forward, occasionally releasing records into the 90s. Though they remained a college favorite, the band never again broke the US or UK charts. Despite sporadic output, Modern English remain together to this day, playing gigs from time to time. The band has a new recording contract with A.P.G. as of 2001, but there’s no clear word as to when to expect new material.
I’ve uploaded a handful of tracks from their debut record, 1981′s Mesh & Lace. The first was also their second single, while the second is a deeper cut and favorite from the record. Here they are, for your listening enjoyment:
and for a nice dose of 80s nostalgia, here’s what seems to be the official video for ‘I Melt With You.’ Let’s hear it for the M&Ms theme song, ladies and gentlemen:
and if you want to toss some bucks around and pick up some of their records, here’s an Amazon link, which though some of their earlier material is out of print, still features a few used copies: