Poor Modern English: doomed to live up to the greatness of one song, reduced to rerecording it to get some attention, some fine work not up to iconic status largely ignored. It was ever thus for “one-hit wonders” – even those with lots of good songs.
In ’82 Hugh Jones (Echo and the Bunnymen, Icicle Works, Stan Ridgway, The Colourfield, Del Amitri, That Petrol Emotion, The Connells, Kitchens of Distinction) produced a little-known band from Colchester’s second album, After the Snow. Modern English would be just another nice little band if it weren’t for the greatness of “I Melt With You,” which opens with the vacuum chamber rush of a guitar chord, followed immediately by a thunderous explosion of drums and bass that sent (especially American) revelers stomping across new wave dance floors in ecstasy for the rest of the ’80s.
The crushing drum backbeat propels the lower body, while a sweet tune playing off of the archetypal desire to stand outside of time in syncretizing love engages the emotions.
After “Melt” swept across America, the band was called to play before a writhing mass of tens-of-thousands in Daytona Beach for Spring Break ’83, having never played a venue bigger than a pub. According to Jones, “When they played the first three bars of ‘Melt,’ the crowd erupted with recognition; it terrified the band so much they stopped playing and stared at each other,” before recovering to finish the song.
One is reminded of Otis Day and the Knights pausing in astonishment at the Dexter Lake Club when the wayward Deltas walk in.