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Blancmange Biography

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Blancmange In-depth Biography

Taking their name from a type of cooked pudding, the electronic duo Blancmange} interlaced the arty, exotic dance rhythms of Talking Heads} with the quirky melodrama of early-'80s British synth pop}. Consisting of Neil Arthur} (vocals, guitar) and Stephen Luscombe} (keyboards), Blancmange} formed in London, England, in the late '70s. Originally called L360}, Blancmange} received immediate recognition when they sent the song "Sad Day"} to DJ Stevo}, who added it to a compilation LP of then-unsigned new wave} groups including future alternative} icons like Depeche Mode} and Soft Cell}. Drummer Laurence Stevens} was a member of the band for a short while, but they eventually replaced him with a drum machine. Signed to London Records}, Blancmange} released their first two singles, "God's Kitchen"} and "Feel Me,"} in 1982. Both records were moderate hits in the U.K., the latter barely missing the Top 40 charts. Later that year, Blancmange}'s debut album, Happy Families}, sold well on the strength of their first Top Ten hit, "Living on the Ceiling,"} which peaked at number seven in Britain. "Living on the Ceiling"} captured Blancmange}'s unique take on synth pop}, throwing heavy Middle-Eastern flavors into their very European style of club music. "Living on the Ceiling"} was the beginning of a string of U.K. smashes; "Blind Vision"} and "Don't Tell Me"} both reached the Top Ten in England. Their cover of ABBA}'s "The Day Before You Came"} was actually even more successful than the original, peaking at number 22. Blancmange}'s 1984 LP, Mange Tout}, further established the group as one of Britain's most popular electronic artists; however, unlike many of their peers, the band weren't afraid of experimenting with real instruments, incorporating sitars, strings, woodwinds, and horns into their synthesized sound. But Blancmange}'s third album, 1985's Believe You Me}, was a flop. The group broke up a year later. Arthur} went solo while Luscombe} formed the West India Company}. ~ Michael Sutton, All Music Guide

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