Hambi & the Dance

Hambi & the Dance were an English New Wave band from Liverpool that released the album Heartache with accompanying singles on Virgin in 1982. Alongside A Flock of Seagulls, the band were the second significant spinoff to emerge from the 1979 Merseyside shortplayer act Tontrix. Namesake vocalist/guitarist Hambi Harolambous released further singles and the album Promises under his surname during the second half of the decade.

Members: Hambi Harolambous (vocals, guitar), Wayne Hussey (guitar), Steve Lovell (guitar), Gazza Johnson (bass), Chris Hughes, Paul Rutherford, The Major (drums), Les Hughes (drums), Phil Coxon (keyboards)


Hambi Harolambous first emerged as the vocalist of Liverpudlian New Wavers Tontrix, which issued the single “Slipping Into Life” (b/w “Shellshocked”) on self-press Townton Records in 1979. Later that year, the band split when bassist Mike Score quit to form A Flock of Seagulls.

Harolambous and Tontrix guitarist Steve Lovell each passed through makeshift bands before regrouping in 1981 in Hambi & the Dance. That year, the band singed to Virgin and issued two singles: “L’image Craqué” and “Too Late to Fly the Flag” (b/w “She Doesn’t Talk”). Both a-sides appear on the band’s 1982 singular album Heartache, which also includes the cuts “Dancing Inside You,” “Standing in the Rain,” “Spirits,” and “Time After Time.” The album spawned a third single with “Living in a Heartache” (b/w “Radio America”). All tracks were written by Harolambous. Production duties were handled by Mick Glossop (Clearlight, Penetration, Camel, Magazine, The Passions, The Ruts, Interview, The Skids). Pianist Nick Plytas (Roogalator, Lene Lovich, Joan Armatrading, M) appears on four tracks.

Musically, Heartache is characterized by crisp piano, strumming riffs, ringing leads, booming bass drums, storming tom fills, exuberant Scouse vocals, and occasional neon synths. Stylistically, Hambi & the Dance wed anthemic rock (The Skids, early U2, Le Mat, Big Country, The Icicle Works) to the artier tech side of Simple Minds, Ultravox, Icehouse, and The Fixx.

Harolambous released two 1984/85 singles: “25 Tears a Day” and “I Don’t Want to Lose You” (b/w “Julie”), the former produced by Mike Score. Though essentially solo releases, both singles bear the Hambi & the Dance name. In 1987, he released the album Promises on the Italian Durium label.

Lovell, after a stint in a formative lineup of Frankie Goes to Hollywood, went on to record with Nine Ways to Win, Julian Cope, Easterhouse, and Epo. Hambi bassist Gazza Johnson (aka Gary Johnson) joined China Crisis in time for their 1983 second album Working with Fire and Steel and remained with the band for 12 years.


Discography:

  • Heartache (1982)

Sources:

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