To mark almost 40 years since the release of their second studio album and their biggest hit single, 4AD post-punks Modern English performed the entirety of ‘After The Snow’ in track order to an online audience. The album was also streamed to the US where the band’s main fanbase resides.
Original members Robbie Grey (vocals), Gary McDowell (guitar), Michael Conroy (bass), Stephen Walker (keyboards) also did an interview backstage at the O2 talking through the recording process at the famous Rockfield studios where the album was recorded under the supervision of producer Hugh Jones. They spoke about the pastoral influence on the album as well as some of the experimental recording techniques used to create the unique sound the record captures.
The band began with opening tracks ‘Someone’s Calling’ and ‘Life In the Gladhouse’; the latter saw the band use a dancier early ‘80s sound that involved them experimenting in the studio with new instrumentation such as the Lexicon Echo. The end of side one also brought ‘Dawn Chorus’, which contained the lyrics about “white stallions” that inspired 4AD sleeve artist Vaughan Oliver’s artwork.
Modern English then switched over to side two and performed their best known song, ‘I Melt With You’, the only track on the album that Grey said he didn’t have to shout on and which contained the jangly guitar sound and catchy hooks that helped the album sell over 500,000 copies. Similarly with eponymous track ‘After The Snow’, the lighter pop sound captured the pastoral sunshine that made the band so popular on the West Coast. The band also played ‘Carry Me Down’, which was the first time they have ever played it live.
26/09/20: Modern English @ Indigo at The O2, London.
Photos © Ayisha Khan.
© Ayisha Khan.
This performance is due to be aired again on 11th December 2020.