I am always up for a new Blancmange album, and I have waited a while for this one. It is an album made with Benge and yet it still has a Blancmange feel. According to the Blancmange site:
“Commercial Break reflects on how the current situation has impacted and re-shaped our perception and experience of everyday life, hinting at new possibilities ahead.
Random field recordings collected for the album triggered many of the songs. Arthur lists them as follows . . .”Blancmange
- Two electric saws
- Waves breaking on beach
- People talking/moving (indistinct words)
- A dishwasher
- Ambient mic recording to pick up background noise
- Close mic recording to collect the body noise of guitar
- Bird song (-2 octaves)
- Metal gate closing and metal gate locking
- Beach with people and waves breaking
- Old water pump
I have only listened to this album a couple of times so far, but there are some really interesting sounds being used here. Not just in terms of the field recordings, which are good, but also the overall sound of each of the songs was really interesting and quite unique at times.
As I’ve been a fan of Blancmange for most of my life now there is always the sense that the next album will still be good and that I really should like it. However, for the most part I do. Some albums more than others of course. But this one feels like a progression. A step forward.
After hearing this I decided to go back to a few Blancmange albums of recent years including the instrumental albums ‘Nil by Mouth’. These are all good, solid works. Thoughtful and not always entirely easy to listen to, a quality I applaud.
Blancmange, albeit only half of the original eighties duo, have grown up gracefully. The music has matured from the interesting pop of the first few albums into something that still retains some of the uniqueness that made them popular (at least popular with me), whilst having a more philosophical leaning to it.
I look forward to more of this journey in the future.