It’s a long way from 1981 …
English school band reunites after three decades during lockdown to record and release their debut album ‘Neon Highway’.
It’s time to dust down the DeLorean, plug in your Atari and put the kettle on. ‘Don’t Mention It’ are back 4/7/20 with ‘Neon Highway’ – 36 years in the making and a lot of mileage under the bonnet!
Straight Outta Surrey, 36 Years Too Late.
‘Don’t Mention It’ was another living room band back in 1981 with borrowed synths and a hired 4-track Portastudio. They improvised tracks on-the-fly and dreamed of being featured in Smash Hits Magazine alongside their idols, Kraftwerk, Ultravox and Duran Duran. The band; Mark Duggan, Martin West and Steve Shillito all went to school in the Surrey Suburbs, south of London, and spent bank-holiday weekends recording experimental electronic music on tape for anyone who’d listen.
Fast forward to February 2020 and the COVID-19 lockdown provided the breathing space to dust off the synths and get the band back together after three decades apart. Martin had moved to New York, Steve was in London and Mark lived in Kent, but the online digital platform BandLab gave them the collaboration tools they needed.
They fell instantly into familiar roles with Mark on vocals, synths and guitar, Martin on keyboards, bass and guitar, and Steve on Drum Machine and FX. With the family in lockdown, a new generation got involved. Mark’s daughters’ Holly and Lucy agreed to guest star on the new album, adding their own unique vocal style.
‘Neon Highway’ is the result of four months’ work, re-recording old faves and writing new ones. Honouring the days of vinyl, the album has two distinct sides, Side A (tracks 1-5) is song-focused and weaves between the drama of Yello, early Simple Minds and the dark funkiness of Duran Duran’s early work. Here you’ll find Holly and Lucy taking the vocal spotlight on ‘Insane’ as well as the album’s title track.
Side B (tracks 5-10) is more instrumental, reminiscent of Kraftwerk and other pioneers of early electronic music, but also takes a side road to the 90’s with chill out tracks like ‘Weymouth Dreaming’ and ‘The Essence Of Tubular Dreaming’. And just like the old days, the band recorded an outro; a fun romp that thanks the fans.
Who knows where the road goes from here, but it seems ‘Neon Highway’ is not the final destination. New tracks are being written for a possible second album before the first album’s release on iTunes, Spotify Bandcamp and more. So it seems this band has more mileage left in the tank. The future looks bright, neon bright.
Also available on iTunes & Spotify