Bristol-based avant indiepop outfit Modesty Blaise has announced that the impending release of a new album via German label From Lo-Fi to Disco! A baroque pop collection titled ‘The Modesty Blaise’, this is the band’s third studio album and their first LP in 20 years since releasing their head-turning ‘Melancholia’ LP (2001), featuring hit single ‘Carol Mountain’.
Ahead of this, they present the lead single ‘Girls Just Wanna Dance’, a perfect orchestral pop song and live favourite singalong that is more Music Hall than Dance Hall. A longtime set closer, ‘Blaise fans have been crying out for it to be recorded and here it finally is. You can bounce around your own kitchen to it and rip your own sink out just for fun.
This new release was preceded by a string of singles, including ‘Natalie Vendredi’ with its endearing nouvelle vague video, which will also be included on the album.
Modesty Blaise have been around for a few decades in various guises. After forming in late 1993, the band quickly recorded their debut single ‘Christina Terrace’ with the esteemed Edwyn Collins at the helm, garnering them immediate success with a live appearance on ITV and inclusion among many many end-of-year top music rankings. This acclaim however was not enough to quell the kind of internecine warfare that Modesty Blaise have become famous for.
After ‘Melancholia’, the band faced one delay after another with line-up changes and deteriorating personal circumstances. An all-too-familiar spiral, the years went by slowly but, no matter how bad it got, Jonny still had his guitars in his mum’s attic.
“When everyone else was in their bedrooms working on guitar solos and dreaming of being a rock god, I was reading biographies of Cole Porter and listening to Gershwin and Jerome Kern and Irving Berlin. I try to write concise things, with deliberate moves away from that where necessary,” says frontman and songwriter Jonny Collins.
“Melody, arrangement and counter melodies… The 3 minute pop single is, I’d contest, the summit of great art. It is timeless, and we consistently get it wrong confusing art with commerce. If your art (or your pop record) sounds like today, it may sound like yesterday pretty soon. Pop iconoclasm”.
Oher career highlights include supporting Robbie Williams at London’s O2 Arena, inclusion in a Rough Trade compilation, an ITV company documentary on Jonny Collins, and a BBC Radio session involving seventeen people.
On February 5, ‘Girls Just Wanna Dance’ will be available digitally everywhere, including Spotify, Apple Music and Bandcamp. ‘The Modesty Blaise’ album will be released on March 26 by from Lo-Fi to Disco! and distributed by Broken Silence (for Europe), Shellshock (for the UK), and Tedium House – Revolver USA and Midheaven mailorder (for North America).
Jonny Collins – vocals
David W Brown – bass
Gregory Jones – guitars
Mark Bradley – drums
Alastair Jenkins – guitars
Roger MacDuff – violins
Jörn Elling Wuttke – mixing at Klangfabrik Frankfurt
Photos by M M Van Dyke