BOOM BOOM MANCINI, RETRIEVED AND RELEASED (2023): Lost between the Dolphin and the Bads

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BOOM BOOM MANCINI, RETRIEVED AND RELEASED (2023): Lost between the Dolphin and the Bads

Two years ago when we interviewed Dianne Swann about her long career and her debut album The War on Peace of Mind – her debut under her own name 35 years after her first band Everything That Flies – the conversation turned to the band Boom Boom Mancini she had in Britain with her partner Brett Adams.

There are few “lost” albums in New Zealand music but Boom Boom Mancini's is certainly one of them.

The album fell between their acclaimed Julie Dolphin in Britain in the Nineties and the Bads they formed when they returned to New Zealand in 2003.

Boom Boom Mancini – named for the handsome American boxer Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini written about by Warren Zevon in '87 – recorded in 98-99 with producer Steve Power but . . .

“I wanted to work with him is he'd worked with Julian Cope on World Shut Your Mouth and that is one my most favourite songs in the whole world. He'd worked with Blur, Baby Bird on that album I loved . . .

“We [BBMancini] started working together with him but he hadn't worked for some time I think, he'd been really depressed. And we started recording together and he got a call from Guy Chambers saying EMI wanted him to produce Robbie Williams and would he come and do it with him?

357069543_1127253488194753_145405843475478575_n“So Steve, obviously, couldn't say no to that, and put us on hold. It was hard for us because BBMancini were in full flight but we wanted to stick with Steve because we were doing great stuff with him.

“And we finished the record [Mess Up Your Life] and the day we were about to go on tour with that record we had a meeting with our manager and [the BBM's new record company] was over.

“It was devastating because we'd been living in the UK for 10 years of our lives . . . it was a huge deal and Steve blamed himself.

“In some way maybe that's right, if the album had come out when we wanted we could have been on our way . . . but that didn't happen.”

Time takes time and although Popham blamed himself they reunited at his request for The War on Peace of Mind. And now the Boom Boom Mancini album Mess Up Your Life and two EPs – which she said two years ago she was getting back have finally been released digitally alongside the Julie Dolphin album Lit and two JD EPs.

You can immediately hear why Radiohead were so taken with Swann and Adams, their songs are powerful Nineties rock with gristle and edge but also removed from the predominant Britpop of the day, somewhere in the mid Atlantic pulling influences from American rock (small whiffs of grunge), the tension-release rock of Garbage, the confident songcraft of Swann from ballads to ballsy rock and Adams' wide-ranging guitar skills (check the explosive title track).

The band of Swann, Adams, bassist Geoff Hayden and drummer Nick Yeatman (who had been the Julie Dolphin but went with a name change and a new record label) are a fist-tight group and their album sounds exciting and fresh, brought out thanks to the tenacity of Chris Caddick of Recorded Music NZ.

As the modest Dianne Swann said on her Facebook page recently, “In many ways this year has been about honouring the past, and thanks to Chris Caddick for his persistence and patience - for some reason the procrastination was real and great - some mental block I think.

“Facing up to the glorious and painful past.

“Please seek these releases out on your favourite platform. The Boom Boom Mancini album has never been released so it may be worth your listen. It is very good.

“A sad chapter, but an amazing chapter all the same . . . what a band we were.”
You can hear Boom Boom Mancini's music at Spotify here

The Julie Dolphin are at Spotify here, the Bads here.

Dianne Swann's The War on Peace of Mind is at bandcamp here, Brett Adams' debut Black Clouds in Stereo album is at bandcamp here

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Steven J Athanas - Jul 5, 2023

Yeah, the Boom Boom Mancini kicks, Graham.

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