Men Without Hats are unfairly most associated with their hit single, The Safety Dance. Although this was their biggest hit, they have released a wealth of material including a half dozen albums and other charted singles. Men Without Hats formed in Montreal in 1980. The original core consisted of Ivan Doroschuk (vocals, keyboards), Jeremie Arrobas (keyboards & electronics) and Ivan’s brother Stefan Doroschuk on guitar. They took their name from not wanting to wear hats during Montreal’s cold winters. They released their first EP, Folk of the 80s in 1980. The EP contained fan favorite, Antarctica . After a series of lineup changes, including founding member Arrobas leaving and Allan McCarthy being recruited for percussion and electronics, the band returned to the studio and recorded their debut album, Rhythm of Youth, which would go on to worldwide acclaim. Lead single, The Safety Dance, would become a top 20 hit in their native Canada and a top 10 hit in both the US and UK. Three other singles were released from the album; I Got the Message, Living in China and I Like. Of these, I Like was the most successful as it became a minor hit in the US charts. A series of lineup changes occured before they released their followup album, the oddly named, Folk of the 80′s (Part III) (odd since there was never a Part II). The album was a commercial failure and only saw limited success in Canada with single, Where Do the Boys Go. Reshuffling the line-up yet again, Men Without Hats again found success with their third album, Pop Goes the World in 1987. The title track saw them returning to the top 20 charts in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. There would be 3 albums after Pop Goes the World, however, none of these were commercial successes. In 1991, their album, Sideways saw a radical departure in sound; gone were the synthesizers that made them famous, now replaced with electric guitars. It was a low point for the band and the album was unable to secure a US distributor.
Sadly, in 1995, keyboard and percussionist, Allan McCarthy, who was involved with the band at their peak, died of complications from AIDS. Lead singer Ivan Doroschuk reformed the band name with hired backup musicians to play a couple music festivals in 2010 and 2011 and the band was embraced. Last year, they opened for The Human League on a couple of their US tour dates. This year Ivan has announced that he will be releasing a new album, Love in the Age of War, the first album in nearly 10 years under the band’s moniker. The album was recorded with some help from Ivan’s brother Colin Doroschuk on backing vocals, Lou Dawson on keyboards and James Love on guitar. It was produced by Dave Ogilvie of Skinny Puppy fame. The lead single from the album is called, Slicing Up Eyeballs, and we are happy to report that it is a return to their original sound that we found most endearing. At this point, only a streaming radio version is available so you will need to forward the video about a minute and a half before the song kicks in.