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Modesty Blaise – Photo Credit: M M Van Dyke
Christmas is coming and don’t you know it? Fortunately fans of such artists as Pulp, Divine Comedy, XTC, Jacques Dutronc and Erasure can break out the eggnog with a proper retro-flavored indie disco feel as Modesty Blaise send off all four seasons of 2021 in style with their new holiday single ‘I’ll Be Home For Xmas’. And unlike most newer bubble-gum jingles that waste a full few minutes of your time on an annual basis, this tune is a royal slice of pop perfection, bells on and all.
The Bristol-based indie pop outfit deliver their festival message in a buoyant jovial video, produced by Dorothy Collins with support from cinematographer M.M. Van Dyke, and filmed at various locations and Factory Studios in Bristol.
Modesty Blaise have always wanted to make a Xmas record. Steeped in the traditions of the Spector/Wizzard school of huge productions, recording started in July 2021 at the height of summer, as all good Xmas records should. Many instruments and sessions later, this single came to fruition in late October as days grew shorter. Now it’s ready for you. Are you bringing the snow?
This release follows up ‘The Modesty Blaise’ LP (February 2021), their third release via German label From Lo-Fi to Disco! and first long-player in 20 years, having released their head-turning ‘Melancholia’ LP in 2001.
Modesty Blaise mastermind and vocalist Jonny Collins is joined here by David W. Brown (bass), Gregory Jones (guitars), Mark Bradley (drums), Alastair Jenkins (guitars) and Roger Huckle (violin).
“We’re not just making a tune for 2021, this is a conscious decision to make a timeless tune. All great Xmas records are timeless, from Wizzard to The Wombles, we play them every year. They do not age; they invoke Proustian memories of festive seasons past. We want to be part of your Xmas – so we’re coming home,” says Jonny Collins.
“I always thought that nothing says Xmas quite like 2 drum kits, a massive tune and a baritone sax. We think this is the best Xmas record that you’ll have heard this side of the millennium, we’ve tried to make something timeless and we hope you agree. We want to be part of your festive season this year and in years to come.”
Modesty Blaise have been around since 1993 in various guises. In that year, they recorded their debut single ‘Christina Terrace’ with Edwyn Collins at the helm, garnering them immediate success with a live appearance on ITV and inclusion among 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. Line-up changes and deteriorating personal circumstances delved into an all-too-familiar spiral and it would be years until a full reformation.
Other Modesty Blaise 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.
Written and produced by Jonny Collins
Recorded at Barton Regis Studio, Bristol, and Kenning Town Studio, Oxfordshire
Mixed at The White House, Weston-super-Mare
Mastered by Martin Nichols at The White House
Cover artwork by Gregory Jones
Cinematography and photos by M M Van Dyke
Produced by Dorothy Collins
Released by From Lo-Fi To Disco!
Label-code LC 29806, Catalogue Number lo-fi 024, ISRC DERB72100009
distributed by Broken Silence
Also enjoy this audio-visual look back at the year 2021 for Modesty Blaise:
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