Modern English

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:

download Modern English- ‘Gathering Dust’
download Modern English- ‘A Viable Commercial’

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:

Purchase Modern English tunes on

7 Responses to “Modern English”

  1. I’ve since discovered the other gems that Modern English has to offer, but I have always and forever loved “Melt With You” and not just as a nostalgia kind of thing. It’s been my perfect idea of a romantic tune since I was a girl. Pretty…but fun and not too sappy with a huge dose of optimism (“the future’s open wide”). I haven’t seen the video in forever, but seeing it just now took me back to my youth…I always wanted to be part of that 80s frocked couple spinning on the dark, empty dancefloor in that cliche mtv fog-machine style. *swoon*

  2. Ditto natty!

    Love the new photo, BTW.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    modern english are one of my favourite bands. the first two albums are fantastic. it’s great to see them mentioned here. keep up the great work.

  4. threethousandwords Says:

    . . . I feel like I’ve finally found a kindred spirit. . .

    I’m definitely gonna have to keep an eye on your blog. . .

    . . I can’t wait to dig all the way through it after work. . .


  5. frankie teardrop Says:

    @mike- thanks! glad you’re into it so far…all the links for the past posts should be active, and the tunes are diverse despite the limits, hope you dig ’em!

    saudade and miss natty- thanks, dear!

    anon- you too!

  6. Camiseta Personalizada Says:

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  7. vadimfv Says:

    i was always under the impression that “Hands Across The Sea” was also a hit song for them

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