With hits like ‘Digging Your Scene’ and ‘It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way, The Blow Monkeys epitomised the glamour of mid-80s pop. Behind the band’s stylish veneer, Robert Howard’s lyrics openly criticised the policies of the Conservative government and railed against social injustices.

The Blow Monkeys’ debut album, 1984’s ‘Limping For A Generation’, was an edgy mix of sinister postpunk, glam rock and dramatic late 60s pop. It was their next album, ‘Animal Magic’(1986) that proved to be their breakthrough, courtesy of the hit single ‘Digging Your Scene’.

As the 1980s progressed, the band engaged a more soulful, jazzy style and an ever-increasing adoption of dance music. The Blow Monkeys’ next album, ‘She Was Only a Grocer’s Daughter’ – a sideways swipe at Margaret Thatcher – gave them their biggest-ever UK hit: ‘It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way’.

Having enjoyed seven years or so of touring the world, The Blow Monkeys split up and for nearly two decades the band was put on ice. Robert worked with Paul Weller and also produced his own solo albums.

Robert’s 1999 ‘Flatlands’ album was based around myths and stories recalled from his Fenland upbringing. It includes the track ‘Further Adventures Of The Fen Tiger’ (“my paean to Kings Lynn and … er… speedway”).

The Blow Monkeys finally returned in 2008 with a new album ‘Devil’s Tavern’. While harking back to the early 80s pre-dance music roots of the band, the songs oozed maturity. And now in 2024, there’s a new album, ‘Together /Alone’. The album embraces simplicity while keeping their sound distinctively infectious and made to be played live. Robert says, “Musically we wanted something stripped down …raw and funky. We’ve played an awful lot of gigs over the last few years, and I knew how good we could sound without all the embellishments. Can’t wait to get out and play it to people – it’s still the most fulfilling part of the job. The communion with audience where just for a moment we all become one”.

The Blow Monkeys are at The Apex on Tuesday 9 April at 7.30pm. See www.theapex.co.uk or ring 01284 758 000 for more information or to book tickets.
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