School band reunites after three decades during lockdown to release their debut album ‘Neon Highway’.
In 1981 ‘Don’t Mention It’ was another hopeful ‘new romantic’ band dreaming of releasing an album and being featured in Smash Hits Magazine alongside their idols, Kraftwerk, Ultravox and Duran Duran. The band; Mark Duggan, Martin West and Steve Shillito (our wonderful graphic designer based in SE23) spent their days in school but when the parents went away during bank-holiday weekends, they recorded electronic music on C-60 tapes with hired equipment and borrowed synths.
After a few years’ life happened and they drifted apart, their dreams of releasing an album never realised. Fast-forward to February 2020 and the COVID-19 lockdown provided space to reunite on Facebook and dust off the old synthesizers and guitars. Martin had moved to New York, Steve was in London and Mark lived in Kent, but they embraced new online technology and started mixing songs ‘in the cloud’.
The guys 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, but the passing years brought new opportunities. Mark’s daughter’s Holly and Lucy Duggan guest star on the album with tracks adding the voice of a new generation on the songs ‘Insane’ and the title track, ‘Neon Highway’.
After four months of recording and 36 years of waiting, the band finally released their debut album. ‘Neon Highway’ and as you might expect, it fits right in with the current 80’s Synthwave revival. Honouring the days of vinyl, the album has two distinct sides, Side A (tracks 1-5) is song-focused and weaves between the early 80’s new wave bands like Yello, Simple Minds and Duran Duran. Side B (tracks 5-10) is more instrumental and reminiscent of Kraftwerk but also takes a side road with chill out tracks like ‘Weymouth Dreaming’ and ‘The Essence Of Tubular Dreaming’.
Who knows where the road goes from here, but the band say ‘Neon Highway’ is not the final destination. They’re busy recording new tracks for a second album, so maybe there’s still mileage in the tank. The future looks bright, neon bright.
Album ‘Neon Highway’ launched this month.
‘Don’t Mention It’ can be found at:
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