This is more like it - disco lights! Fancy transition effects! Roller dancing! Glittery confetti raining down on coiffured hair!

This is Modern Romance!

By the end of 1982, everything was tickety-boo once more, and you only have to look at Modern Romance to see the truth of that reflected, very nearly literally, in the faces of these shiny happy people on the cover of their fifth and most successful single, “Best Years Of Our Lives”. A vision in pastel and white, with slacks and top buttons firmly done up, this is a band who understand that life is for the living. Not for them the heavy pessimism and inability to look beyond the burning fires of inner city anarchy that blighted The Specials, Modern Romance saw hope, love, and a future, if not for society, then at least for themselves, and everyone else at the office Christmas party.

“Best Years Of Our Lives” reached number 4 in January 1983, kept off the top spot only by the combined might of such heavyweights as David Essex, Phil Collins, and, um, Renee and Renato. Three more top 20 hits followed, and then came “Good Friday”, which was so unsuccessful it doesn’t even get a mention on the band’s official website, which has them splitting up after the release of previous single “Walking In The Rain”.

“Good Friday” missed the top 40 by a whisker, bubbling under at number 96 for one week in November 1983. It’s the middle class revenge fantasy after The Specials’ “Friday Night, Saturday Morning”. There are no pies, chip shops, piss-stained shoes here, no pulling up a chair to the edge of the dance floor: only fun and laughter, swinging sax breaks, and friends swaying to the music alrigh-hight, no doubt still celebrating that summer’s general election result.

Shortly after the single bombed, the album “Party Tonight” was released, collecting together all the band’s best moments. It was, I reckon, the first proper album I ever owned, and features 14 tracks (14 Super Tracks, in fact, according to the cover blurb) mostly in the upbeat Salsa-pop style that has been a perennial favourite of mine, and which accounts for the majority of my music library*.

Modern Romance are, to quote Never Mind The Buzzcocks, still very much in the music business, albeit not with quite the original lineup. Last year they played the somewhat misleadingly named Lets Rock The Moor festival, down Berkshire way, not far from where I grew up listening to, and no doubt dancing like an idiot to all those super tracks.

  • This probably isn’t entirely accurate. It probably hasn’t been entirely accurate since about 1984.