This is Modesty Blaise's first new album in over 20 years is a return to form for Jonny Collins and the current line-up of Modesty Blaise who I remember being pretty cool live back in the early to mid-90's however vague the memories of seeing them are. So welcome back to a band from Bristol who make rather beautiful, lush music.
This opens with I Love You that feels very summery, a glorious slice of shimmering widescreen love song to serenade the object of your desire and make them melt into your arms.
Catwalk Queens is probably not a tune to strut down a catwalk too but is a song about being seen out and about with a Catwalk Queen on your arm, with lush strings and chiming keyboards that help turn this into kitchen sink chamber pop to preen and pout too.
Come Lie Beside Me is a slice of pleading and yearning for love and affection that is sparse and gentle as if you want to be rocked gently to sleep rather than a full on romp, no matter how the vocals are pleading for a romp as the slow guitar solo gently unfurls to the beat of the tambourine.
Sad Songs is of course another sad song but unlike say Lou Reed's sad Song this isn't the respite at the end of a truly sad record, this has a late 60's dappled hazy sunshine feel to it with not quite the expected instrumentation as the banjo seems to take over in places. Some glorious harmonies on it.
The earlier single Girls Just Wanna Dance is apparently a live favorite, it's almost the missing link between My Life Story and The Divine Comedy as the sounds of a very large band playing as a cool string section and some great keyboards come in as they tell us that Girls Just Wanna dance and the best way to make friends with said girls is to dance with them. Who could argue with that as we all sing along with them.
Rollerdisco doesn't see them falling flat on their arses as I would have done at a Rollerdisco, this makes the whole experience sound fantastic like the greatest way to spend a Saturday night rather than an experience full of dread that it would have been to those of us with poor balance, oh and the bass line that's set against the handclaps is just brilliant.
Out Tonight a song about getting dolled up to the nines and going out in a way we haven't been allowed too for far to long, I love the organ sound on this tune that sounds like they are re-working something from the 17th century that was meant to be played on a Virginal, so get ready to go out again to this tune.
Natalie Vendredi has already been out as a single and is lush and sensual song of lust for a mademoiselle they want to share a baguette with, that liberally steals a line or two from Kevin Coyne's Nigel In Napoli, making this the second song I own that contains the lines about dreaming of philately latterly only this is clearly not about Nigel Burch and his fleapit orchestra.
Oh! Redmond is a full-on Brookside episode set to music with all the soap opera drama and yes it will leave you on tenterhooks waiting for the next episode of this kitchen sink drama.
Pink Champagne On Mars (Return Of The Uranium Girl) sounds like a late 60's John Barry production with added space noises, this is music for space age cocktail parties.
The album closes with And The Lights Went Out All Over Town that's a space age mini operetta for the things we've lost since everything shut down and we all got locked down, only this sounds like it happened due to the arrival of a nuclear winter on Jupiter, it's dreamy and helps us all float off to another spectral plane with Modesty Blaise.
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