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Modesty Blaise – Photo Credit: M M Van Dyke
Hailing from the British port town of Bristol, indie pop outfit Modesty Blaise have revealed the video for their new single ‘Come Lie Beside Me’ ahead of dropping their long-awaited album The Modesty Blaise will be released via German label From Lo-Fi to Disco! at the end of next month.
Fine purveyors of baroque pop, this is not only the band’s third studio album, but their first long-play in two decades, their previous one (‘Melancholia’) being released in 2001). Fantabulous dance-pop, Modesty Blaise will remind you that Brits are the king of wit and groovy retro-laced musical wanderings, not far from the mark set by Pulp back in the 90s.
Frontman Jonny Collins explains, ““Come Lie Beside Me” came from a conversation on tour in Germany about whether it was possible to get certain words into songs, in this case “ramshackle”. Well frankly, that’s easy. It turned into a rather tender song because of Gregory’s Pale Blue Eyes guitar pointing to the reason why the third Modesty Blaise album is called The Modesty Blaise ( the third Velvet Underground album is The Velvet Underground). Ally that to vocals redolent of The Beatles “Because” and you have Come Lie Beside Me, track 3 on The Modesty Blaise where all ballads should be. With it’s video referencing Warhol’s Factory it should last for 24 hours. But it’s just a perfect 2:44.”
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. The band has been building upon each of these offerings, calling to mind such bands as Pulp, The Divine Comedy, XTC and High Llamas. Very catchy, very smooth, very clever text – Modesty Blaise makes for cheeky pop perfection.
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.
Look forward to (and seek out) their new album, which will be available digitally everywhere, including Spotify, Apple Music and Bandcamp as of March 26.
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
The band has also introduced more goodness off this album with two more lo-key videos shared in the past few weeks. Not long now and the whole sh’bang will be available to the masses: