The classic ‘artist biog’ traditionally takes a strictly linear path. Year by year, album after album. But that wouldn’t do Tom Bailey justice. Bailey’s creative past, present and future can’t be plotted along a straight line. It’s a prism, with dub, pop and world influences at each corner.
The pop element is his most well-known and comes back into play in 2018 with a brand new album, Science Fiction. It arrives just over 25 years after Play With Me, the last single by the Thompson Twins, which sat alongside tracks by Bowie, Eno and Moby on the soundtrack to 1992’s Cool World. The previous decade of course, had seen the Thompson Twins rise from squat-based free-form indie anarchy – with 1981’s Set and ‘82’s A Product Of… – to world domination, with a set at Live Aid backed by Nile Rodgers and Madonna.
They had 7 top 40 hits in the US and 10 in the UK with another 4 top 40 hits in the US Dance Chart including 2 No1’s with ‘Lies’ and ‘Hold Me Now’ and over 10 million album sales worldwide.
Those singles tell a unique story: Tom accessing early synths; being so taken aback by the possibilities they offered; the Twins shifting from band to project as a result; where as much creativity – thanks to his two accomplices in the classic trio line-up, Alannah Currie and Joe Leeway – was poured into design, video and production as it was into everything else. It was that ethos that meant no group other than the Thompson Twins could possibly have released an anti-ballad as captivating as Hold Me Now, or an anti-drugs song as danceable as Don’t Mess with Doctor Dream.