“Within myself there are no limits,” says Blancmange’s Neil Arthur. “There’s a massive palette inside and I will try anything.”
This sense of sonic limitlessness is evident across Blancmange’s expansive and prolific catalogue, which is now expanded with his most recent album 2022’s Private View. In their post punk early days, when Arthur formed the band with Stephen Luscombe in 1978, they made tape loops and experimental sounds with kitchen utensils, before developing into one of the definitive chart-topping electronic pop acts throughout the 1980s.
Since reforming to release Blanc Burn in 2011 – with Luscombe leaving shortly after for health reasons – Arthur has harnessed this duality of experimentation and seamless pop melody to release a staggering 10 albums in the last decade. “I don’t know whether I’m on a roll but I feel something in me has been released,” he says. “I used to hold back and I didn’t trust myself. While I’m still full of self-doubt I’m now quite comfortable with it. This is it. We’ve only got one time around the block, so make the most of it.”
Private View is distinctly Blancmange while also expanding into new sonic terrain. There’s a deft marriage of futuristic electronic sounds, Arthur’s unmistakable vocal hooks, and songs that veer from buoyant and joyful to dark and brooding.
This sense of perpetual forward motion that drives Blancmange is also reflected in the ongoing influence the music has on younger generations of artists and fans over the years. Contemporary electronic producers and artists such as Honey Dijon, Roman Flügel and John Grant have all recently paid tribute with new remixes, while Moby once called Blancmange “probably the most underrated electronic act of all time.”