Mojo (UK)

Blancmange

Happy Families (Deluxe Edition)

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Thirty-five years late, respect due to the most underrated ’80s synth duo.

Falling between the stools of pop fun and brooding electro-experiment­alism meant that – hit singles aside – Neil Arthur and Stephen Luscombe have been denied post-facto synth maven status. Yet Edsel’s comprehens­ive 3-CD muster of 1982’s Happy Families and associated tracks (Mange Tout, from ’84 and Believe You Me, from ’85 are also available) makes a strong case, with the Cabaret Voltaire centipede funk of Feel Me and Scott Walker suicide chanson of Waves and Cruel the darkling yang to the tabla-driven Living On The Ceiling’s surrealist pop yin. Demos on Disc 2 of Business Steps and Black Bell plus the original Sad Day from Stevo’s epochal Some Bizzare Album comp underline the pair’s cred credential­s, harking back to the mangled bleakness of their pre-fame Irene & Mavis EP, a post-pop vibe that Arthur has revived in recent Blancmange releases. Still a terrible name, though. Danny Eccleston

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