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Arthur, Neil - 1994 Suitcase

ARTIST: Arthur, Neil
ALBUM: Suitcase
LABEL: Chrysalis
YEAR: 1994


LINEUP: Neil Arthur - lead & backing vocals, guitar, programming * David Rhodes - guitar, programming, backing vocals * Adam Fuest - drums, guitar * Mark Bandola, Dawson Miller - guitar * Ray Weston, Roy Dobbs - drums * Simon Edwards - bass, backing vocals * Graham Henderson - accordion, piano, backing vocals * Mark E. Nevin - percussion * Marius De Vries - programming, backing vocals * Tracy Ackerman - keyboards, backing vocals * Sylvia Mason, Mary Cassidy - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Breaking My Heart * 02 I Love I Hate * 03 Suitcase * 04 Jumping Like A Kangaroo * 05 I Know These Things About You * 06 Heaven * 07 That's What Love Is Like * 08 One Day, One Time * 09 Jukebox Theory * 10 The Beach


A recent acquisition for this reviewer as I was vaguely familiar with Neil Arthur as one half of the moderately successful synthpop duo Blancmange and the disc was relatively inexpensive so why not? Blancmange, named after a French dessert was always considered a second or third tier synth pop band vying for position well behind contemporaries Depeche Mode, OMD and Soft Cell with a typical 80's Euro Boy image and annoyingly cute LP sleeves. Their biggest hit 'Living On The Ceiling' was interesting with its Middle Eastern influence and accompanying Duran Duran rip-off video but beyond that I'm hardly what you would call a Blancmange expert.

The Songs
'Suitcase' is Arthur's only solo output to date and is better than expected, certainly topping what I've heard from him in Blancmange. Yes, there are plenty of danceable beats on hand and the music isn't all that far removed from glittery pop wonders Erasure, but more down to earth with a steady rock influence throughout thanks to the always tasteful guitar work of Peter Gabriel cohort David Rhodes. The driving 'Breaking My Heart' sets the tone with a shock and awe chorus and using the overwrought wedding tearjerker Pachelbel's 'Canon in D Major' as an intro to the album's second single and biggest hit 'I Love I Hate' is a stroke of brilliance. The reggae flavored title track is a major letdown and 'Jumping Like A Kangaroo' is as naff as you would imagine but the darker 'I know These Things About You' puts Neil back on the rails and none too soon if you ask me. Deeper in, 'One Day, One Time' released as an advance single should have charted in a perfect world while closing with the atmospheric OMD-ish 'The Beach' is a perfect bow-out to a better than average set.

In Summary
In the last few years there has been a resurgence in Blancmange activity with albums and tours but apparently it's just Neil Arthur and session players since his long time partner in crime Stephen Luscombe moved on to other things in 2011.

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