Canvas Of Life

Minor Detail were an Irish synth pop duo from Blackrock, Co Dublin consisting of two brothers – John and Willie Hughes. They became the first Irish band to secure a deal with a US label – signing to Polydor in 1983. Their debut single Canvas of Life was released in October of that year with their self-titled album following shortly afterwards. The LP was produced by Bill Whelan of Riverdance fame. It’s a curious piece of melancholia with some rather heartfelt themes encompassing world peace, positivity / success in life and tentative romances.

Canvas of Life was also promoted by a video single which received a number of plays on the first season of MT USA. It’s a soaring pop tune with a heavy reliance on the Roland SVC-350 vocoder. The video was shot in Dublin and features some evocative footage of St Stephen’s Green.
I remember Fab Vinnie being particularly fond of it. However sales were lacklustre and the band broke up during the summer of 1984 after their second single (Why) Take It Again?  A brief reunion in 1986 produced two more singles but no meaningful critical acclaim. John Hughes later went on to manage The Corrs.

(by nlgbbbblth)

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19 thoughts on “Canvas Of Life

  1. fústar says:

    I loves me a bit of vocoder. Particularly when it’s employed in Berlin.

  2. fústar says:

    Also, nice jumpers and slacks.

    Also, the name Minor Detail instantly calls to mind David Brent’s band Foregone Conclusion.

  3. Paul C says:

    Subtle bit of Wood Quay propaganda towards the end there?

  4. kirstie McDermott says:

    so many things! The trousers! The stance! The name! I am in awe. Of them and you.

  5. VoiceEncoder says:

    I own a vinyl copy of this. Too bad I don’t own a record-player to play it on! AfaIk, it’s never been released to CD. I also own a Roland SVC-350 Vocoder like they used on this album. Btw, Neil Young’s vocoder on ‘Trans’ is the Sennheiser Vocoder VSM201; Soundwave’s is the Roland VP-330 Vocoder Plus (Mk1 or Mk2?); and the Cylons from the orginal-series version of ‘Battlestar Galactica’ (1978-9) and ‘Galactica 1980’ (1980) used the EMS Vocoder 2000.

  6. nam citsale says:

    Is that Sofar Sogood impersonating a young Leo Sayer or perhaps Zal Cleminson in the video?

  7. David. says:

    I remember seeing that video on the telly at the time it came out.Haden’t seen it since,the deja vu moment was when yer man turns from a clown to a normal person.

  8. Ian says:

    This has aged surprisingly well. I remember when I was small being amazed by the video – the idea that there could be a video filmed in Dublin was an astonishing one.

  9. VoiceEncoder says:

    I’m not sure if the two guys on the cover are or are not the Hughes brothers (although they do look like brothers) as the two singers in the videos don’t look like that (and don’t look necessarily like brothers). Both cover guys have dark hair while one singer has dark-brown hair and the other is a blonde. So are the two guys on the cover models, or are they the Hughes brothers and the two singers two different people? Also I think there might (or might not) be a third singer for the song “20th Century” as it doesn’t quite sound like either. Somewhat confusing…

  10. VoiceEncoder says:

    I posted they entire VINYL LP here on YouTube: and here on DailyMotion:

  11. nlgbbbblth says:

    Thanks very much VoiceEncoder!

  12. VoiceEncoder says:

    “Canvas of Life” sung by the “Canvas of Life” singer aka the shorter dark-brown haired guy.

    “Hold On” sung by the “Hold On” singer aka the taller blonde guy.

    “20th Century” can’t determine, possibly and quite probably somebody else (a third singer?).

    “Why Take It Again” = “Hold On” singer.

    “I’ve Got a Friend” = “Canvas of Life” singer.

    “Ask the Kids” = “HO” singer.

    “We Are Winners (Once We Try)” = “CoL” singer.

    “Others Need You” = “CoL” singer.

    “I’ll Always Love You” = “HO” singer.

    “Columbia” = “HO” singer.

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