Want List: Hambi + The Dance; More Liverpudlian New Wave

In 2009 Hambi Haralambous [L] directed the “Energy Suite” installation in collaboration with Peter Saville and OMD

Even though I have numerous vinyl archiving projects all revved up and ready to go in the Record Cell, the impetus is to always look to the horizon and try to apply my fine-toothed comb to the unruly tangle of likely production threads. I’ve just wrapped up a Revillos project, and I am now in the final mastering stages of the “Unnamed Jo Callis Project” alluded to some moths ago. My Fingerprintz complete reissue thread requires two more singles, and yet, I am looking back to a record I brought in 1982, if memory serves.

I recall reading a negative review of Hambi + The Dance’s 1981 single “L’Image Craque” in the pages of Trouser Press, but as usual, reading between the lines revealed that I might have been a likely member of the elusive target audience. The single was likened to an overwrought Ultravox sound and in 1981, I could see nothing wrong with that sort of approach! I bought the single in the lovely 7″ import bins at Record City Fern Park; dare I say Central Florida’s best ever selection of import vinyl [sorry, Murmur Records!] It was okay, but nowhere near the feverish sound my mind had conjured up in advance of hearing the actual single. What is did sound like, with the benefit of hindsight, was a mores synthetic harbinger of  the slightly psychedelic, yet expansive sound of another Liverpudlian band yet to come; The Icicle Works. Perhaps the muddy production and engineering by Mick Glossop had something to do with my slight antipathy, but in 2017, perhaps its time to reexamine Hambi + the Dance.

Hambi Haralambous ran the Motor Museum studio in Liverpool, and was linked to various points in OMD’s history as well as the band Hambi + The Dance. Throughout its history, that band also contained several notorious figures of the Liverpudlian New Wave scene: Chris [Adam + The Ants] Hughes, Gazza [China Crisis] Johnson, Paul [FGTH] Rutheford, and Wayne [Dead Or Alive, The Mission] Hussey. So it was one of the fertile branches on the Liverpool Tree Of New Wave. The attractive thing about pursuing this thread is that there was an album and three, 7″ only, singles. Better yet, I have owned one of the singles since it was released. Picking up the rest needed to make the disc should be quite affordable, if I can source domestic sellers.

Virgin Records | UK | LP | 1981 | V2211

Hambi + The Dance: Heartache UK LP [1981]

  1. Time After Time
  2. Living In A Heartache
  3. Madelaine
  4. L’Image Craque
  5. Spirits
  6. The World
  7. Dancing Inside You
  8. Major Major
  9. Too Late To Fly The Flag
  10. Standing In The Rain

The three singles are as follows.

Virgin Records | UK | 7″ | 1981 | VS 414

Hambi + The Dance: Too Late To Fly The Flag UK 7″ [1981]

  1. Too Late To Fly The Flag
  2. She Doesn’t Talk

“Too Late To Fly The Flag” was the band’s debut single. There was a non-LP B-side, but I haven’t determined if the A-side was the same mix as the LP version. Many UK 7″ers of the ’78-’81 period had unique A-side versions on 7″, back in the day.

Virgin Records | UK | 7″ | 1981 | VS 437

Hambi + The Dance: L’Image Craque UK 7″ [1981]

  1. L’Image Craque
  2. L’Image Craque [dub]

This was the point at which I entered the fray, obviously. Considering that all of these records were released in 1981, I was shocked that there appear to be no 12″ singles of the band’s releases. 1981 was the year where 12″ singles seemed to have exploded in the marketplace, and Virgin Records, were usually quite savvy on trends like that. On one hand, the B-side here was the only remix [that I know of] of the band’s music with the dub mix on the B-side here. On the other hand, it’s cheaper to buy/ship a 7″ single. On the third hand, the fidelity of a 35+ year old 76″ single can be diabolically bad.

Virgin Records | UK | 7″ | 1982 | VS 474

Hambi + The Dance: Living In A Heartache UK 7″ [1982]

  1. Living In A Heartache
  2. Radio America

The final single was released in 1982. Since none of these troubled the UK charts, Haralambous was cut free from Virgin Records and he managed to release a few more singles and an album from this “phase two” of his career. In 1984, he lined up with MCA Records and put a single out called “25 Tears A Day” [L] with no album to follow. This time there was a 7″ as well as a 12″ single; each with distinctive tracks and the whole thing was produced by Mike Score of A Flock of Seagulls. The Liverpudlian plot thickened.

His next appearance was on a UK 7″ pressing under his own Pink Pop imprint in 1985. Obviously, the gent had a thing for pink, as seen on these sleeves. “I Don’t Want To Lose You” [R] had a B-side called “Julie” and the latter did not figure on Hambi’s second and final album, which was m.i.a. for two years following this stillborn single release. Not that both of these singles were still branded with the band name from his Virgin Records era.

The final album, Promises” under the Hambi name, only appeared in Italy in 1987! Of the latter two single sides, only “I Don’t Want To Lose You” appeared here, and in a 4:18 version about 20 seconds longer that the earlier UK 7″ version.  Methinks that digging this deep is probably unnecessary. I may continue further with a concise Virgin Records era project that leaves the later, frayed edges of the Haralambous fabric for another, even more obsessive hobbyist to curate.

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | media design • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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4 Responses to Want List: Hambi + The Dance; More Liverpudlian New Wave

  1. Echorich says:

    L’Image Craque always sounded as if OMD and Teardrop Explodes bumped into each other in the studio and got along famously on record. I have it on a Liverpool Mixtape thats followed by Reunion by Black – a song only available on the US release of Comedy (and one that sounds like it was written ages before that album came out in ’88). That mixtape also has the aforementioned Teardrop Explodes – The Great Dominions, Dalek I Love You – A Suicide, Pink Military – Did You See Her, Echo And The Bunnymen – Pictures On My Wall, Nightmars In Wax – Shangri-la, OMD – Sealand and Other Boys by Wah!… I think I may have do dissect that tape, which seems to be much worse for wear than I would have thought, and make a post out of it.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – Okay. I certainly see Teardrop Explodes on “L’Image Craque” and I still smell Icicle Works; maybe not OMD so much. At any rate, I am intrigued in pursuing the Hambi thread through his Virgin era. As for Black, “Reunion” was one of the B-sides to “You’re A Big Girl Now.” I also have the US “Comedy” for the “Sweetest Smile” 5:22 remix on it. The US “Comedy” was an ugly chop job, compared to the magnificent German CD pressing I first bought, but sometimes you have to just have it all!

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      • Echorich says:

        I stand corrected as I have the You’re a Big Girl Now single and actually the fidelity of the version of Reunion on the single seems much better than on the album. As for OMD association to L’Image Craque, it’s in the chorus where that TE/OMD mixture comes across for me. The more I listen to the single now, I actually hear a lot of early Wah! in the song as well…Pete Wylie really traded, for all it was worth, in that apocalyptic vocal style.

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