Mo-dettes iTunes Tracks


Post-indie, all-girl supergroup consisting of alumni from a couple of combos that had a foothold in the genre, the MO-DETTES started well enough at the turn of the 80s, but fizzled out soon afterwards, leaving behind a promising and unfulfilled time on the fringes. If they’d another track like debut 45, `White Mice’, the quirky quartet just might’ve caught the imagination of a public weighed down by similar acts such as DELTA 5, AU PAIRS, LiLiPUT and The RAINCOATS.
The fact that American-born guitarist Kate Corris had played a part in the early stages of the latter act (a free transfer from The SLITS), it gave them a claim-to-fame injection, while her buddies from The Bomberettes: stunning Swiss-born frontwoman Ramona Carlier (ex-KLEENEX; as Regula Sing), bassist Jane Crockford (ex-Bank Of Dresden) and drummer June Miles-Kingston (sister of TENPOLE TUDOR’s Bob Kingston), could well’ve been London’s answer to The GO-GO’S.
Formed in 1979, the girls traded in a spiky new wave sound despite their moniker and the (then) current mod revival. They debuted later the same year with the self-financed/Rough Trade-distributed `White Mice’ single – surely a classic one-that-got-away despite airplay from John Peel. Carlier’s Euro-centric pronunciation and “hiccupping” vocal style was reminiscent of LENE LOVICH or Fay Fife (The REZILLOS), while the backing harmonies and handclaps added a retro, B-52s touch to proceedings.
Signed to a revitalised Deram Records, maybe a rookie rendition The ROLLING STONES’ `Paint It Black’ was an ambitious beginning, but it did give them a limited taste of Top 50 success in July 1980, now that they were no longer an indie act. Note that a version of the Bert Russell & Phil Medley nugget, `Twist And Shout’, was available as a free 7-inch flexi. Previewing their debut album, third bad-ass single `Dark Park Creeping’ was possibly too brooding and menacing to achieve daytime airplay. With no sign of `White Mice’ on board the chapter-and-verse, THE STORY SO FAR (1980) {*6} set (`White Mice Disco’ was hardly compensation!), only really `Masochistic Opposite’ (their debut’s flip-side), `Fandango’, `Norman (He’s No Rebel)’ and Georges Moustaki’s `Mi’Lord’, had any clout among the fickle indie in-crowd. The album failed to generate the anticipated interest, and several months were wasted in coming up with a sophisticated pop style to complement their very minor-hit take of LEE HAZLEWOOD’s `Tonight’.
Jane was now married to Daniel Woodgate (of MADNESS) in 1980 – they divorced in the mid-90s – and the availability of the MO-DETTES was straining the chord-ends. Dropped by Deram and hoping to cash-in on the indie-pop market with a lounge-y live reading of `Kray Twins’ (from the LP) – backed by `White Mice’ from ’79 – a period of upheaval saw both Corris and Carlier departing for pastures new later in 1981.
Despite the recruitment of respective replacements, guitarist Melissa Ritter and singer Sue Slack (in May ’82), the MO-DETTES came to a halt soon afterwards amid yet more internal strife. Miles-Kingston duly went on to gain most recognition, initially as a member of FUN BOY THREE’s backing band before briefly going solo (`Say You’), and on to join The COMMUNARDS; Corris, subsequently recorded a collaborative effort with BELLE STAR, Jennie McKeown, and Ramona married and took the surname Wilkins.
© MC Strong/MCS 1999-2003/GRD series // rev-up MCS May2016

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