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English for modern times | After the snow
1982 can be seen as a turning point for the British post-punk scene, as it marked the rise or inexorable decline for bands determined to continue individually on the path taken by the first wave of London punk: when realities like Cure found glorious confirmation with a masterpiece of dark wave pornography, other bands like Siouxsie And The Banshees could no longer guarantee the same compositional quality of origins.
An ambiguous fate fell on Modern English, whose dark debut Mesh & Lace was strongly influenced by the sick and claustrophobic dimension of the now deceased Joy Division: the commercial success brought the second record chapter After The Snow to unexpected and unreleased results for a British post-punk scene group, as the single I Most With You was constantly broadcast on MTV in 1982 and placed in the best positions of the international chart.
The happy fate of After The Snow can be explained by the softening of the tones by Modern English, which no longer wants to insist on the suffocating and post-nuclear atmosphere of the debut, but aims at a completely new sound world. Punk matrix runs through the whole album, but in several sections you can perceive an alternate and contemporary aura running parallel to certain compositions of Echo & The Bunnymen or the emerging cornerstones of New Wave: just approach tracks like Face Of Wood or Carry Me Down to understand their influence on subsequent alternate experiments, with their dynamic rhythms or their dreamy and elegant melodic openings.
The acidity of the songs on the first album, such as the immortal Sixteen Days, is completely abandoned and leaves room for structures with pleasant sounds that are never decayed and banal: Robbie Grey's voice is not the main vehicle of emotions, because modern English is a master of instrumental music, as the magnificent formulation of Someone's Making or the distorted experiments of Life In The Gladhouse show.
Instead, if we concentrate on the most important track, I Myelt With You, we can't say that it's more valid and effective than the other seven that bring After The Snow to life: although it's the only one conceptually associated with the debut Mesh & Lace, it's also the one that stands out most from it in terms of its freshness and subtlety in terms of sound research.
At a time of extreme change for the British Wave, Modern English succeeded in announcing the popular sensibility that was later adopted by several representatives of the genre, especially Cure. The brilliance of the chorus of I Music With You sums up the whole substance of a genre that will die in a few years: The New Wave would soon emerge with the big names that would monopolize the international market, like Simple Minds, Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran and Eurythmics, all from different musical experiences.
Ultimately, the contribution of an LP like After The Snow was fundamental to the history of post punk, even though Modern English has always been one of the smaller artists of the genre: it opened the door to the third chapter, which continued the natural evolution of the Modern English style to various shores and reflects the high stylistic versatility of a professional group.