Simply put, “I Melt With You” by Modern English is one of the most iconic songs of the New Wave-era. It garnered heavy rotation on the then-thriving Modern Rock radio format, MTV and dance clubs across the globe, and was featured prominently in the classic 1983 film Valley Girl, staring a young Nicholas Cage.
Yet Modern English was no mere one-hit wonder. Mesh & Lace, the band’s 1981 full-length debut, reveals that long before the band conquered the airwaves, it was churning out dark, moody and challenging post-punk that rivaled such peers as The Cure, Echo & the Bunnymen and their then-4AD labelmates Bauhaus. On 1982’s After the Snow, the band’s sound evolved into a more commercial and radio friendly mix of synthesizers, guitars, catchy drumbeats and singer Robby Grey’s unmistakable vocals. That album spawned “I Melt With You” and brought Modern English up from the underground to the mainstream.
On December 6, Los Angeles-based Blixa Sounds will release these two classic albums, remastered on vinyl LP and CD formats, with a collection of non-LP bonus tracks exclusively on the CD edition. Both albums will feature new re-imagined artwork by Vaughan Oliver, the noted artist /designer responsible for the original Modern English album art.
The huge success of “I Melt With You” often over shadows that fact the Modern English were pioneers of the British post-punk scene. Formed in 1979 in Colchester, England, the band self-released its first single on its own Limp Records label, prior to signing to the legendary 4AD label, home to such like-minded acts as Bauhaus, Cocteau Twins and Dead Can Dance. The band also gained the attention of renowned BBC DJ John Peel, who featured the band twice on his program.
Mesh & Lace, released in 1981 by 4AD, showed the band to be uncompromising experimentalists, leaving some to dismiss them as pretentious, but those who hung in there discovered a groundbreaking act, laying the foundation for such future musical movements as goth and industrial.
For 1982’s After the Snow, the Modern English inked a U.S. deal with Sire Records, the influential label that also had such acts The Pretenders, Echo & the Bunnymen and Madonna on its roster. As the title suggests, the icy sound featured on Mesh & Lace melted away on After the Snow to reveal more concise and potent songs, highlighted by the classic “I Melt With You,” a song so good that the band opted to record it again in 1990, but the original remains the ultimate and definitive version. It’s a song so popular that the band was honored with Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2017 BMI Awards for 3 million plays on radio.
Then again, “I Melt With You” is just the tip of the Modern English iceberg. Check out these two classic albums. To quote the lyrics from the band’s most iconic song – they’re “getting better all the time.” Best of all, Modern English is still alive and kicking, and plan to tour in 2020.