Modern English is a rock band best remembered for their song “I Melt With You” which was an MTV staple in 1982, and has appeared in various commercials and movies over the years. The group disbanded a while in 1991, but later recorded in 1995 with some new members.
Formed in Colchester, Essex, England, in 1979 by Robbie Grey (vocals), Gary McDowell (guitar, vocals), and Michael Conroy (bass, vocals), Modern English was originally known as The Lepers. The group expanded to “Modern English” when Richard Brown (drums) and Stephen Walker (keyboards) were subsequently added to the line-up of the indie rock band (later Ted Mason, Matthew Shippley). A debut single, “Drowning Man” was released in 1980 on the Limp Records label. The band’s full-length debut Mesh & Lace, released by 4AD Records a year later, drew heavily on the gloom rock sound already patented by bands such as Bauhaus and Joy Division.
The follow-up album After The Snow (August 1982), recorded by the same line-up, introduced warmer sounds and strong guitar harmonies (most notably on the hit “I Melt With You”), in contrast to the tinny bleakness of the debut. It was well received in the USA, selling 500,000 units, and the band relocated to New York to consolidate a popularity encouraged by college radio. Their album Ricochet Days had a crisper production with hits such as “Ricochet Days” and “Hands Across the Sea”. By the time of Stop Start, released in the US by Sire Records in 1986, Walker and Brown had left, and Aaron Davidson (keyboards, guitar) (later of March Violets) had joined.