This year, after an absence of 35 years, all four original members of 80s band Fairground Attraction are reuniting for a 14-date UK tour and a brand new studio album, with the first single, ‘What’s Wrong With The World?’ out today.

The band’s debut, ‘Perfect’, went to Number One not only in the UK but in countries all around the world and, in 1988, it won Best Single at The Brit Awards. It has gone on to be regarded as a genuine pop classic.

Like ‘Perfect’, ‘What’s Wrong With The World?’ was written by the band’s guitarist Mark Nevin and sung by their brilliant vocalist, Eddi Reader. In a similar upbeat Country-pop vein as their huge hit, they finally answer the question on everyone’s lips: “What’s wrong with the world?”

There is no other band like Fairground Attraction – their use of the guitarrón (a large, Mexican acoustic bass), played by Simon Edwards, gives the bottom end of their records a warmth and character that combines with drummer Roy Dodds, Nevin and Reader to create a charming acoustic antidote to all that is modern and digital. When they arrived on the scene all those years ago, their unique sound was described by many as a “breath of fresh air” and it is even truer today than it was then.

The band’s meteoric rise to the top of the charts was as surprising as it was welcome, not least for the members themselves, who struggled with having their lives turned upside down and, unfortunately, the whole thing was over too soon, leaving a legacy of just four singles and one double-platinum album, The First of a Million Kisses.

The problem was Fairground Attraction were never expecting, or trying, to be ‘pop stars’ and they weren’t prepared for the pressure and demands of being thrust into that position. Like a Morris Minor mistakenly entered into Formula One, it was only a matter of time before the gaskets blew, and blow they did, leaving the four members bewildered about what to do next.

Eddi went on to enjoy a long and successful solo career, making 10 critically acclaimed solo albums, most notably, The Songs of Robert Burns, her interpretation of the poems of Scotland’s national bard, which gained her honorary degrees from five universities, as well as an MBE for outstanding contributions to the Arts.

Mark, as well as making seven solo albums, has collaborated with various artists, including Morrissey and Kirsty MacColl; He even had one of his songs recorded by David Bowie.

Simon and Roy have been in demand, both together as a rhythm section and individually, working with a wide and varied selection of top artists.

During the past three decades, a lot of water has passed under a lot of bridges and when the estranged members of Fairground Attraction finally re-opened communication last year, they realised there was a lot more that united them than divided them. Soon afterwards, in an impromptu moment, Eddi joined Mark on stage at one of his solo shows to sing the Fairground Attraction favourite ‘Allelujia’ and suddenly – finally – the door was open for more.

And here it is, featuring a cover shot of a perplexed chess player, competing with himself in a mirror to resonate with the song’s tag-line: “You can change the mirror, but not the reflection.” Fairground Attraction are back – older, wiser, coming “face to face with imperfection”, except that this is, ironically, the perfect song at just the right moment. A song that answers the question: “What’s wrong with the world?” with another question: “Maybe it’s me?”

‘What’s Wrong With The World?’ is the first single from a brand new album due for release later this year. Details are under wraps for now but Mark promises the band’s patient fan base who’ve been waiting over three decades for another record, won’t be disappointed.

“I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to be back together, making music again,” reflects Mark, “I think we had all given up hope that it would ever happen a long time ago. It is almost spooky, as though we are ghosts, who have come back to life, but something happens between us when we play together; time evaporates and it could all have been yesterday.”

While The First Of A Million Kisses was a romantic record, from the iconic Elliott Erwitt cover shot of young lovers reflected in the wing mirror of a car on a Californian beach, to the joyful waltzing tales of love, longed for and lamented, the new record might be a “where are they now“ of the characters who peopled it.

And where are they now? Who are they now? They are here, alive and well, they are Fairground Attraction. They survived and they’re still smiling.

Fans will also have the chance to see the band live this autumn, with their first UK tour since they split in 1990. They will play dates across the UK and Ireland, including the Royal Festival Hall in London and Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow.

Tickets on sale 10am 28th March, with pre-sales on the 27th March.

Full dates are:
Saturday 28th September – Wolverhampton, The Civic at The Halls
Sunday 29th September – Manchester, Opera House
Tuesday 1st October – York, Barbican
Thursday 3rd October – Gateshead, The Glasshouse International Centre for Music
Friday 4th October – Nottingham, Royal Concert Hall
Saturday 5th October – London, Royal Festival Hall
Monday 7th October – Cambridge, Corn Exchange
Tuesday 8th October – Brighton, Dome
Thursday 10th October – Oxford, New Theatre
Friday 11th October – Bristol, Beacon
Monday 14th October – Perth, Concert Hall
Wednesday 16th October – Aberdeen, Music Hall
Thursday 17th October – Glasgow, Royal Concert Hall
Friday 18th October – Edinburgh, Usher Hall