In their first incarnation, Altered Images and their iconic frontwoman Clare Grogan enjoyed an intense burst of success that made them the brightest emerging stars of the new wave scene as well as the Best New Act at the NME Awards. In just two years, they released three studio albums and a catalogue of Top 10 classics - ‘Happy Birthday’, ‘I Could Be Happy’ and ‘Don’t Talk To Me About Love’ - that are still being discovered today. Altered Images have been touring on-and-off for the past two decades, most recently returning to arenas as guests of The Human League, but new music was never on the cards… until now.
Now Altered Images - led by Clare Grogan - make a long awaited return with the news that they will release their new album ‘Mascara Streakz’ on August 26th. They today share their new single, the album’s title track, which represents the first new Altered Images music in almost forty years. Their return will also gather pace with the confirmation of a UK headline tour which begins this September.
The ‘Mascara Streakz’ single captures the essence of what Altered Images aimed to achieve with the album. Like their big hits and fan favourites, it is instantly immediate but its synth-pop melody and contemporary beats are an evolution from the band’s original spiky guitar pop style. The result respects everything that Altered Images were the first time around, but also sounds like a very organic next step. The ‘Mascara Streakz’ she references are a nod to those wild, life-affirming nights out that, through laughter or tears, leave your make-up looking less than pristine.
Clare Grogan says, “This song is my homage to all the crazy nights out that I’ve had. I think it’s a metaphor for life! The fun, the dancing, the drama, the tears, the tequila shots, the lust! It was inspired by so many artists I’ve danced to around the world from Kraftwerk to the Tom Tom Club. A DJ saved my life many times.”
Given that Clare Grogan’s many talents include acting for the stage and screen, presenting a variety of TV and radio shows, and writing two hit books, it’s no wonder that making music wasn’t at the forefront of her mind. But when the second lockdown was introduced, she was compelled to create something new. Joined by her husband and Altered Images alumni Stephen Lironi, Clare started writing and recording around the kitchen table, before further collaborators appeared as restrictions were lifted: their near-neighbour, former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler, and Robert Hodgens (aka Bobby Bluebell of The Bluebells), a contemporary from Glasgow’s early ‘80s music scene.
Consequently, ‘Mascara Streakz’ is a set of songs that ranks up there with their very best early ‘80s hits. From the throbbing electro floor-filler ‘Colour of My Dreams’ to the pure pop euphoria of ‘Home’ and daring, dazzling disco on ‘Glitter Ball’, it’s apparent that Altered Images in 2022 is about looking ahead to the future.