Modern English - Life In The Gladhouse [1980-1984]
4AD



Of all that great music that came from the angry British boys of the 80s, this 
was one band I always missed for some reason.  I guess I assumed they couldn't 
offer anything beyond "Melt With You", which, of course, is included on this 
compilation.  But it really starts out with some angry [read: angry] beating on 
metal and screaming about "16 days" something or other, and it's quite 
industrial-sounding and brings to mind those often-cited bands of 'Wire' and you 
name it,  i.e. those really pioneering rock / punk bands of the early 80s who 
challenged song structure and also enjoyed making LOUD ROCKING MUSIC.  If I could 
have caught this band live, I certainly would have been in an overenthusiastic frenzy.  
If you are excited about the possibilities, remember that this whole album is great 
(save for one song) but:  but:  not all the songs are like that great ballad we've 
all heard on TV or the radio so many times.  This CD compiles what they consider to 
be the best songs from a selection of maybe three albums and a few singles, and the 
songs that were from the same album as "Melt With You" are perceivably similar.  
According to the liner notes (which I shouldn't have read because they tainted my 
opinions), the producer in charge of the album holding "Melt With You" [_After the 
Snow_] basically taught the band what a chorus was.  Songs from that album and 
afterward are lighter and less aggressive, with more upbeat, coherent & complex 
lyrics.  Before that, they were perfectly pleased with beating on metal and making 
what some people might call "sonic structures."  And, of course, they would yell and 
scream on top of it.

What this extended expose on Modern English initially brought to mind was the following: Bauhaus or Tones on Tail minus the dark art goth pretentiousness, and minus a bit of invention, but with more pop sensibility, stronger vocals and more intention to rock a crowd to its knees. I will be listening to this regularly for some time to come.
IN CONCLUSION, if you wouldn't mind being rocked to your knees by an old 80s band whose catalog is more varied and impressive than that song you already love, check this album out from your local library. Or borrow it from one of your many friends who own it. Or, even better, BUY IT. Support the reissue of great missing 80s bands. and be rocked out. This is the aspect of the 80s so many people forget to account for when they say "80s music sucks!" (Begin prediction: but, of course, the resurgence is coming, just as it did for disco, to render horribly cliche the last remaining hits the radio still plays, and allow us to forget any aspect of 80s music besides Madonna and U2.)
...tim johnson...

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