Cool, elegant, beautiful sophisto-pop with an 80s ambience. The Questionnaires just want to express a few shared feelings long held about politics, relationships and the human condition. After receiving superlative reviews and attracting major label interest in the late 1980s, personal circumstances and the inability to find an empathetic backing band drove Jane Wade and Steve Hall their separate ways. They re-formed in 2002 and produced their debut album, Arctic Circles. It was released independently in early 2003, and was re-released by independent label Salient Recordings on September 16th. On Arctic Circles, The Questionnaires combine soul, jazz and funk, a sort of Portishead-type artiness and lyrics that transcend the norm in a totally unique way. Those with the confidence to ignore the corporate fads need look no further for cool, intelligent, timeless songs, great musicianship and one of the best female voices in the business. The Questionnaires nucleus is Jane Wade and Steve Hall. They're interesting characters. Jane is a renowned singer in her home city of Newcastle upon Tyne, known as Northern England's leading interpreter of the songs of Kurt Weill. She has performed one-woman shows at Live Theatre about Alma Cogan and Lotte Lenya, and Tina Turner's guitarist Jon Miles wrote a show specially for her - she's that good! Her latest hit show in 2005 was 'Lush Life', in which she sang the songs of Ella Fitzgerald with great style. One of Steve Hall's early bands, the Eastside Torpedoes, was produced by ex-Jimi Hendrix manager Chas Chandler, and they opened for Ray Charles, Robert Cray, Freddie Hubbard, Herbie Hancock and many others. Steve was a 'musician's musician' on the North-East music scene for many years, constantly in demand. He is now an internationally-known social philosopher, with work published alongside Jean Baudrillard, Georges Bataille and Slavoj Zizek. What they're saying about Arctic Circles: 'Every so often you get an album that you want to play over and over again ... far and away the best album to come out of our corner of the planet in many years ... songwriting of the highest quality, and I mean the highest quality ... these songs are getting better by the spin ... this album does really leave me lost for words.' Charles Holley, Get Rhythm, UK. 'Guitarist Steve Hall and singer and actress Jane Wade first formed The Questionnaires in 1988, but the band split up soon afterwards. The reason they've come together again becomes clear when listening to their debut album Arctic Circles. It's not so they can show off their impressive technical skills, but because they've got urgent things to say about the world we live in. The craftsmanship of the music is impeccable (just listen to songs like 'I'm Not Strong Enough' or 'East End West End'), but it's the lyrics that really capture the imagination. Hall and Wade talk about the deep pain of a world dominated by the dogmas of consumerism and a growing culture of fear and aggression. A number of themes keep surfacing. The cold suggested by the album title becomes a metaphor for the soullessness and isolation of lives dominated by power and status. The sadness of living in a society obsessed by image as opposed to substance is explored in 'I'm Not Strong Enough' and 'Ghosts In Your Eyes'. And the effects of turbo-capitalism and the new Western imperialism on the powerless are explored in 'Building The Pyramids Again' and 'Madmen Do The Business'. For anyone who thought that music with a strong personal and political message had to be dull, the Questionnaires have eloquently proven otherwise. The more you listen to Hall's guitar and Wade's voice, the more the soulful atmosphere and hypnotic rhythms of Arctic Circles carry you away. Arctic Circles is that rarity: great art dealing with deeply relevant issues.' Miguel Sopena, Red Pepper, UK 'One of the best indie bands on the planet ...' Paul Carosi, Radio Freetunes, USA '... oh, that VOICE' Lord Litter, Europe's most influential alternative DJ 'Some of the most perfectly executed, elegantly produced music I have ever heard' Gods Of Music, USA '... a dark voice that was last heard on the better Annie Lennox albums ... very seldom are we served with soul-flavoured pop in this magnificent way ...' Persona Non Grata, Germany 'The Questionnaires are a truly independent band ... strong jazz-resembling vocals and virtuoso guitar ... this is a release you will not grow weary of, the lyrics are intelligent and thought-provoking ... a record worthy of a listen' A-rated alongside Vienna Teng, The Best Female Musicians, USA '... in 'Arctic Circles' they have forged an enjoyable and soulful pop album with hooks aplenty and Jane's terrific, sophisticated voice to the fore'. Tim Peacock, Whisperinandhollerin, UK 'Wade has a wondrous vocal range but she never loses track of the song with unnecessary ad-libbing and even when she is in full flight as on the brilliant 'Madmen Do The Business' it adds genuine raw emotion. At a time when most artists are at the twilight of their careers, The Questionnaires demonstrate that sometimes there is no substitute for experience.' Jonathan Leonard Leonard's Lair, UK The Questionnaires Jane Wade: voice and acoustic guitar Steve Hall: acoustic and electric guitars, basses, keyboards and drum programming Special Guests: Gary Lynsley: saxophones Les Watts: Rhodes piano and Hammond organ Lloyd Howell: live drums and percussion.