Some of the best music of the early '80's, and also some of the most forgotten, is the bright funky pop that came from a number of eccentric British soul bands. I suppose much of the reason it has fallen down the memory hole is that this stuff has never been genre-ised, which seems to be the ars memoria by which music critics fill their elephantine memories.
So I hereby invent the genre of "British Pop-Funk". I suppose the grand-daddies of this genre were the mighty Hot Chocolate, one of many 1970's hit machines whose reputation has gone from kitsch to genuine appreciation. Among their successors were Linx, whose big hit "Intuition" brightened up a miserable 1981. The personable frontman was David Grant, who is nowadays employed, along with his wife Carrie, as a hard-nosed bastard who tells people that they can't sing.
Imagination were fronted by the impish satyr Leee John, one of the early '80's great pop characters, and surely one of the inspirations for Red Dwarf's The Cat. Their hits, such as "Body Talk" and "Just An Illusion" were seductive epics that seemed to lie at the midpoint between the American soul greats and the weirdness of the New Romantics. It was this kind of crafted oddity that made these bands identifiably British, and not just carbon-copies of their American peers. Like Adam Ant and Kevin Rowland, Leee John would keep up the act in tabloid interviews, telling journalists that if he didn't make love five times a day he was in danger of exploding etc.
Loose Ends were genuinely highly rated at the time, and talked about in the kind of reverential tones that augured future greatness. They were one of the few British bands to make an impact on the U.S. R&B chart, and in 1985 it appeared that the world was their oyster. Alas it wasn't to be, and they appeared to vanish as quickly as they appeared. Doesn't mean we shouldn't recall them now though.
The only band who went on to build any kind of career out of this sound were the excellent (though terminally unfashionable) Level 42, who deserve their own post. This is a shame as the rest of the pop-funk bands of this era were chronically under-appreciated, not least in the UK itself, which always considered its own R&B music as ontologically inferior to that produced in the U.S., despite all the evidence to the contrary.
Ah, we can only look back on what might have been....