4 November 2018

The Messengers - I Turn In (To You)/ The Semi-Professionals (Theme No.1)

Midge Ure proteges on a distinctly Ultravoxy sounding trip

Label: Chrysalis
Year of Release: 1982

Glaswegians The Messengers were formed from the ashes of the post-punk band Modern Man, who Midge Ure discovered while he was in a bar on Sauchiehall Street. He offered to produce their sole LP "Concrete Life" but the group, signed to the ailing MAM label, failed to generate any interest and quickly disintegrated.

Reduced to a basic duo of Colin King and Danny Mitchell, and focusing their renewed efforts on synthesised pop, they busied themselves after Modern Man's split by recording basic demos of tracks and posting them to potentially interested music business contacts, of whom Ure was inevitably top of the list.

In 1982, the man Midge got in touch and asked the pair if they would like to support and contribute additional instrumentation for Ultravox on tour, and also release a single in order to ensure they had some product to push on the road. The pair quickly agreed, and "I Turn In (To You)" is the fascinating result - produced by Ure himself, and using his favoured equipment and studio engineer John Hudson, it inevitably ends up sounding exactly like a record of his, to the point where drawing comparisons seems futile. You can hear it in every chunk of those melodramatic keyboard flourishes, pained vocal lines, and echoing drum sounds.

You would have hoped this was a very easy disc to sell to Ultravox fans while the pair were on tour with them - unless, of course, it turned out to be too much like selling coals to Newcastle - but the broader public were rather disinterested and the record failed to chart. While The Messengers would issue a couple of other singles on Chrysalis, the label passed on releasing an LP, and the game seemed to be up until the pair reformed to release "It's Been Twenty Years, Let's Try Turning Up The Volume" online in 2004. That too seems to have disappeared from the online and real world racks, with CDr copies on sale for high prices on Discogs.

The pair may have failed to break through as The Messengers, but Danny Mitchell co-wrote the Midge Ure number one hit "If I Was" in 1985, and the pair continued to have a close working and writing relationship.


Anonymous said...

Both are still working in music, Colin is bringing his 2nd album out with Gmack around Feb 2019 and Danny appears on both, doing vocal production too

Vlad The Chart Collector said...

Very nice of you to have covered this - a fascinating by-product of Ultravox-related activity. This one did actually chart, if we take a full Top 200 list - it spent at least 4 weeks on it in January 1983, so enough Vox fans took notice. A shame it didn't break in at least Top 100 - would've been a terrific minor hit.