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      HEARTS AND KNIVES
      June 11, 2013
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  • Founding fathers of the New Romantics and pioneers of the ’80s sound, Visage return with a new album Hearts and Knives. “It has been 29 years since the last Visage album and during that period it often seems like we have all lived through several lifetimes,” comments Steve Strange, the band’s creative force and flamboyant leader singer. Visage began in 1978 when Steve Strange and Blitz Club partner-in-crime Rusty Egan joined forces with Midge Ure to create a futuristic, synthesizer-led group where style and fashion were matched by experimental but accessible music. The group was soon augmented with members of Magazine (John McGeoch, Dave Formula and Barry Adamson) and Billy Currie. They recorded their first single “Tar” with Martin Rushent at his Genetic Studio in 1979 (shortly to become the birthplace of the Human League Dare album).

    Their breakthrough track “Fade To Grey” became a European hit and reached number 1 in eight countries in 1980. The band then enjoyed a series of hit singles “Mind Of A Toy,” “Night Train” and “The Anvil” coming from a pair genre defying albums, the eponymous Visage in 1980 and The Anvil in 1982. In 1981 Ultravox now led by Midge Ure took off and in 1982 Midge and Billy left to concentrate on what would become one of the biggest bands of the ’80s. In 1984 Visage made their third album Beatboy. As the public face of the band Steve Strange shot to stardom throughout Europe he continued to be active in hosting club nights (The Camden Palace, Club For Heroes) and in the fashion world.

    In 2010 Steve reconnected with Steve Barnacle and began writing songs once more. Some time later ex-Ultravox guitarist Robin Simon joined the equation, bringing not only a large slice of shared musical DNA (that “Visage sound”) to the project, but also his own distinctive style and ethereal musicianship. Vocalist Lauren Duvall was invited into the fold, adding not only her sultry vocal ability but a slice of the classic Visage glamour too. With the core members in place the picture slowly started forming and the band reached out (once again) to Martin Rushent. He suggested the blueprint for the album and had began working on the first tracks before his untimely death in 2010. The Hearts And Knives album is dedicated to Martin.

    The album features collaborations and contributions from Dave Formula (former Visage and Magazine keyboard player), Mick MacNeil (the former keyboard player and creative musical core of Simple Minds), ’80s super producer Youth, Rich Mowatt and Logan Sky. The sound of Hearts and Knives is “classic Visage” but with modern songs and style. There is the odd tip of the hat to modern production values but the sound is 1980-1982 Visage. It’s Vintage keyboards and synthesizers all the way. There’s not software synths on this record! The production by John Bryan and analogue synthesizer collector Sare Havlicek is firmly rooted in the ’80s. Many of the tracks are instantly recognizable as Visage (Moogs and the obligatory CR78 drum sound feature on several).

    Visage (French for “Face”) has always been one part music to one part style & fashion. In 1980 the explosive combination of then futurist synthesizer music, fashion, make up & gender ambiguity set the blue print for the New Romantic movement and eventually the style template of the 1980s. Visage was one of the bands to evolve out of the famous night club the Blitz Club, created and hosted by Steve Strange and Rusty Egan. Other bands included the infamous Spandau Ballet and Culture Club.

    Innovative style, clothing and make-up continue to be central to brand “Steve Strange.” In a series of style looks for the album he has collaborated with designers Haus of Gaga, Sorapol, Mark Fowler and long time collaborator milliner Stephen Jones OBE. The first album cover in 1980 was shot by veteran music photographer Peter Ashworth in the Blitz Club. Peter returns to shoot the cover of the fourth album. The shot references the famous “Fade To Grey” white face & water motif now displayed on a mask created by Lara Himpelmann. The current day Steve Strange bursts through the mask in a blaze of silver & red.

    Hearts and Knives may have been a long time in coming but it is a purposeful statement of just where Steve Strange and Visage are at present. The past has been full of highs and lows but musically & creatively they are at a point where they can confidently present an album containing all the strands of their unique mix of music, fashion and style.

    Visage’s new album Hearts and Knives is due for release in the U.S. June 11, 2013 and will be available on CD, limited edition vinyl and digtal formats through Pylon Records. Fall 2013 U.S. tour dates to be announced soon.

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    Hearts and Knives Tracklisting:
    1 Never Enough
    2 Shameless Fashion
    3 She’s Electric (Coming Around)
    4 Hidden Sign
    5 On We Go
    6 Dreamer I Know
    7 Lost In Static
    8 I Am Watching
    9 Diaries Of A Madman
    10 Breathe Life
    11 Shameless Fashion – The Extened Mix (Bonus Track Exclusive to U.S. CD)

    FOR MORE INFO ON VISAGE:
    http://www.visage.cc

    FOR MORE INFO ON PYLON RECORDS:
    http://pylonrecords.com

    FOR MEDIA AND INTERVIEW REQUESTS:
    Tony Bonyata
    Pavement PR
    p: 262.903.7775
    e: tony@pavementpr.com
    http://www.pavementpr.com

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  • REVIEWS

    • "With its synth and disco-influenced feel 'Hearts and Knives' is vintage Visage." - ROLLING STONE
    • "Recalling the new wave era when bands like Human League, Duran Duran, Heaven 17, Japan, Depeche Mode ruled the airwaves and some clubs here and abroad, Visage manages to get that vibe and take it into the 21st Century in a new fresh and interesting way." - CHICAGO SUN TIMES
    • "Aided by gloriously warm, analogue synths rather than impotent computer plug-ins, the retro-pop effect is well realized." - CLASSIC POP MAGAZINE
    • "This is new wave, art rock with a dash of punk thrown in. If you like program-driven dance music with a message - Visage is for you."  - LEE COUNTY COURIER
    • "The Top 10 Albums of 2013: 'Hearts and Knives' slick electronic production, the atmospheric vocal power of Steve Strange and the album's inventive lyrics firmly remind us that Visage are still at the top of their game - despite their almost thirty year absence from the music world. The band have seamlessly adapted their signature sound for 2013 in what feels like a very-contemporary, yet very-Visage album." - CULTURE FIX
    • "… infectious" - PENNY BLACK MUSIC
    • One of the year’s best new albums. Steve Strange’s voice hasn’t aged a day and his album sounds both like fresh modern dance music AND the album Human League has been trying to make ever since Crash. If you like new romantic and new wave, this album and the OMD disc are the perfect one-two punch. - POPDOSE
    • "Visage still have it - they just kept it under wraps for 29 years. 'Hearts And Knives,' in culminated opinion, sees Steve Strange and his group venture into new territory while displaying all the hallmarks of classic revolvent retrospectivity. Bravo." - SUBVERSION
    • "'Hearts and Knives' revels in its old-school synth pop feel, recalling the days when guitars and a real drumkit held hands with keyboard bass and programmed electronics. Not to mention melodies, the emphasis on which really sets Visage apart not only from today’s rhythm-happy electro-rockers but even a lot of the band’s contemporaries. - THE BIG TAKEOVER
    • "…the original vibe is here in full flower." - MIDWEST RECORD
    • "After a 30 year hiatus and the introduction of a new lineup, Visage returns with a familiar new wave sound that is so classic it should only be sold on vinyl or cassette." - EQ MUSIC
    • "New Romantic founders return with their first new music in 29 years, just in time for the re-emergence of synth-pop as a major creative force." - POPMATTERS
    • If you ever had a soft spot for Steve Strange's lot back in the early 80's, I highly recommend their new album, they've managed to retain the electronic backbone of their first two albums, whilst adding more guitar and bass on top of it. There are some strong songs on it too, it's a great listen and will be in my year end top 5. It's retro yet modern sounding at the same time." - MELODIC ROCK
    • "'Hearts and Knives' is a time machine worth hopping on." - SANTA FE NEW MEXICAN