Her soul entwined with the night
The heartbeat of the songs that she hears
In the Glitter Ball of Life
We could indeed be happy! After forty years, new wave darlings Altered Images have re-emerged from the deep with a brand new tune, a disco-soaked reverie called “Glitter Ball”, off their upcoming album Mascara Streakz, due out on the 26th of August 2022.
The song, co-written by Clare Grogan and Bernard Butler, is an unabashed celebration of life – a most welcome message of late; a beaming lighthouse in this collective stormy sea. Clare Grogan’s effervescent voice is still as charming as ever, interweaving through the music. It manages to be nostalgic and future-thinking at once; acknowledging the past yet bursting with optimism.
“I absolutely love the drama we created in this song,” says Grogan. “It’s all about the beautiful and unexpected on a night out.”
The gorgeous video, directed, shot, and edited by Stuart Alexander, depicts “young Clare” (played by Ashleigh Trainer) suspended underwater in a womblike state, playing with a disco ball. Today’s Clare is joyfully dancing on an empty beach, triumphant and delighted. It becomes a love song to her youth and celebrates the woman she has evolved into.
Scotland’s Altered Images had a history of being fairly cheeky in their early years. Their very name referred to a sleeve design for the “Promises” single by the Buzzcocks, with which Pete Shelley had kept interfering. Clare Grogan, for trivia hounds, is the inspiration for Spandau Ballet’s classic song “True”. Altered Images gained footing after the band straight up sent a demo tape to Siouxsie’s fan club manager with a little note asking if they could support their tour. The Banshees ended up giving Altered Images a support slot on their Kaleidoscope British tour of 1980, and Steven Severin even produced the lion’s share of their 1981 debut album Happy Birthday.
They had six UK top-40 hit singles and three top-30 albums between 1981 and 1983, including the titular “Happy Birthday”, “I Could Be Happy”, and “Don’t Talk to Me About Love.” After this meteoric rise and some footing gained in the US, the band split by the mid-80s. Grogan and Stephen Lironi married, and Grogan’s solo career evolved into acting and being a BBC presenter…she’s appeared on Father Ted, Skins, and EastEnders.
The band, now led by Clare Grogan, has been touring off and on for the last twenty years, recently appearing as guests of The Human League. Mascara Streakz was recorded for Cooking Vinyl Records by original Altered Images members Clare Grogan and Stephen Lironi, along with Bobby Bluebell from the Bluebells and Suede’s Bernard Butler. There will also be tracks co-written with original Altered Images bassist Johnny McElhone.
Mascara Streakz is available to pre-order now.