Modern English Releases First New Music Since 2016 with “Long in the Tooth”

Modern English has released its first new music in seven years with “Long in the Tooth,” off the band’s forthcoming ninth album 1 2 3 4.

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I don’t have any answers / To all of the questions / It’s taken a lifetime / I’m long in the tooth sings frontman Robbie Grey on the more palpitating track. More of a post-punk rendering, “Long in the Tooth” is a glance back at Modern English’s 1981 debut Mesh & Lace with its gaze set on the band, now.

Produced by Mario J. McNulty (David Bowie, Lou Reed, Nine Inch Nails) and recorded at Clubhouse in Rhinebeck, New York in the fall of 2022, the intention of 1 2 3 4 was to capture more of the band’s live energy, driven by their eight albums.

“Modern English and its journey, both musical and personal, has spread over 40+ years, and ‘Long in the Tooth’ is a song about this part of that journey,” said Grey in a statement. “As we have reached out into the world and all its changes over all those years, it’s a meditation of getting older in a world that still spins in a chaotic and always interesting way.”

1 2 3 4 also picks up on “subtle themes lifted from ‘After the Snow’ (1982) and ‘Ricochet Days’ (1984) that include the environment, aging, failed relationships, love and more,” according to a descriptor of the album.

The band is currently wrapping up the southern leg of their North American tour, which concludes on September 30 at the Neptune Festival in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

In 2020, the band shared a rerecorded version of their Mesh & Lace hit, “I Melt With You,” during the pandemic prior to being forced to cancel their 40th anniversary tour. Working with longtime friend, artist Vaughan Oliver, the band created the cover artwork for the track.

[RELATED: Behind the Song: “I Melt With You” by Modern English]

Oliver, who passed away in December 2019 at the age of 62, was also responsible for some of the most iconic album covers throughout the past four decades, including Modern English’s fellow 4AD label partners at the time, Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil, and Clan of Xymox. He also later crafted the abstract surrealism of the Pixies’ Doolittle and The Breeders’ candied heart burst of Last Splash.

The artist continued working with Modern English and also designed their seventh album, Soundtrack, in 2007. “His artwork is genius,” Grey told American Songwriter in 2020. “The first work he ever did was a ‘Gathering Dust’ 11-inch single, and the last work he ever did was ‘I Melt with You.’ He started with us, and ended with us.”

Modern English September 2023 Tour Dates:

15 — Hamden, CT — Space Ballroom
16 — Greenfield, MA — Hawks & Reed
17 — Boston, MA — Sonia
20 — Richmond, VA — Canal Room
22 — Greenville, SC — The Radio Room
23 — Atlanta, GA — The Earl
24 — Nashville, TN — 3rd and Lindsley
27 — Athens, GA — 40 Watt
29 — Smithfield, NC — Paul A Johnson
30 — Virginia Beach, VA — Neptune Festival

Photo by Sheva Kafai / Courtesy of Clarion Call Media

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