First Light is the debut album from Fader, which is the latest project from Neil Arthur (from Blancmange fame) and Benge (Ben Edwards) who is known for his work in electronic music, especially as part of John Foxx and The Maths. He also has a substantial solo career.
Neil Arthur had resurrected Blancmange in 2011 with original member Stephen Luscombe. However following the reunion album Blanc Burn and tour, Luscombe left the band, and Arthur released a further four albums under the name Blancmange. Fader is not the first time Arthur has stepped away from the Blancmange moniker, but it is his best side project.
First Light is a brilliant album. Benge is a great replacement for Luscombe, not that he tried to be, but as a fact, this is the album fans have been waiting for since Blanc Burn. Benge and Arthur have created an album with everything that was great about the ‘80’s electronic music without sounding retro. This is accomplished by Benge’s production. He knows how to mix the music and arrange the songs. A brilliant accomplishment.
And then there is Arthur’s vocals and lyrics. Arthur has never sounded better. His voice gives so much away with emotion and feeling. He wears his heart on his sleeve. Listen to “ I Prefer Solitude”, an incredible song about breaking up with Arthur repeating the phrase “I’ve never been lonely, I prefer solitude.” Sad, poignant and beautiful. The accompanying melody is just heartbreaking.
The songs are very complete, concise, and mini soap operas. Not to compare them to Blancmange, but First Light is an astonishing extension of them. Benge knows music and his ability to collaborate with Arthur is nothing short of inspiring.
Blancmange is one of my favourite bands, and one that is often overlooked. This album sits comfortably with Arthur’s music, both with and without Blancmange, and it is a wonderful addition to the growing catalog of music from Benge.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: FADER – FIRST LIGHT