Bristol-based Avant indiepop outfit Modesty Blaise present ‘And The Lights Went Out All Over Town’, the closing track on ‘The Modesty Blaise’ LP, the band’s first album since emerging from a 20-year hiatus. This track presents a vision of a dystopian present, rather than future, and an indictment of how the military/industrial complex has led us all to the point of ecological destruction. Or else it’s a little tune about a funny episode when Modesty Blaise’s hard rocking caused a club’s fuses to blow in the middle of a gig…. Or both.
Produced by Dorothy Collins with support from cinematographer M.M. Van Dyke, this video was made during lockdown with a minuscule carbon footprint.
The indiepop outfit recently released this long-awaited third album via German label From Lo-Fi to Disco! This baroque pop collection is the band’s first long-player in 20 years, having released their head-turning ‘Melancholia’ LP in 2001, featuring hit single ‘Carol Mountain’.
Earlier, the band previewed a handful of singles, including the ‘Come Lie Beside Me’, lead single ‘Girls Just Wanna Dance’ (a perfect orchestral pop song and live favourite singalong that is more Music Hall than Dance Hall), ‘Sad Songs’, ‘I Love You’ and ‘Natalie Vendredi’ (with its endearing nouvelle vague video).
Modesty Blaise have been around for a few decades in various guises. After forming in 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.
“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,” says Jonny Collins.
Oher 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.
‘The Modesty Blaise’ LP is out now, available digitally everywhere, including Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon. The physical album can be ordered from Rough Trade in the UK, hhv in Germany, Disk Union in Japan and also via the label itself.
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