Updated: Nov 26
The following review was published in Used Records & Tapes #1 [RoosterCow Press]
Haircuts aside, A Flock of Seagulls is an underrated band. Wait, hold on a minute, I know what you're thinking (or shouting loudly): "Are you out of your ever-loving mind?" Perhaps, but please hear me out. Haircuts and pop culture references aside, what do you really know about A Flock of Seagulls?
Let's review. You may remember the relentless heavy rotation of the "I Ran" video in MTV's infancy when the budding network didn't have a whole hell of a lot of videos to choose from. You are no doubt familiar with the ad-lib made by Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction: "You, Flock of Seagulls, you know why we're here?" You may have even seen the Bands Reunited episode on VH1 in 2004 which sought to reassemble the original flock.
A Flock of Seagulls Album Review
But haircuts, pop culture references, and VH1 TV shows aside, what do you really know about A Flock of Seagulls? I mean really know about them?
That’s what I thought. Now, I am not here to educate anyone on the career of these synthy Liverpudlians. My only point is that they are actually an underrated group and not so deserving of the joke band status that has been tossed to them like so many crumbs on the pier.
Their 1982 self-titled debut album, Flock of Seagulls is actually, surprisingly enjoyable. Paul Reynolds is an ace guitar player and the ten songs on this record are catchy, danceable pop tunes that stand right up with some of the best of that genre at that time.
I Ran So Far Away
The album’s opener is the straight-up hit “I Ran”, sometimes listed as “I Ran (So Far Away)”, but there are deeper cuts. “Space Age Love Song” has a simple beat, sparse guitar, and occasional video-game synth blasts. “Modern Love is Automatic” has a great guitar line reminiscent of Magazine (another often-overlooked band).
“Telecommunication” likewise is a great pop song in a time when the word ‘telecommunication’ had a somewhat futuristic ring to it. The bouncy pop of the instrumental “D.N.A.” is rather infectious and “Messages” features a propulsive bass line and a one-word chorus that bears repeating.
The album isn’t completely without fluff. “You Can Run” sounds like a weak Gary Numan track sung by a less confident Howard Devoto.
A Flock of Seagulls & The Alien Invasion via TV
Interestingly, allegedly, the record is a concept album concerning the invasion of an alien species through television sets or some such rubbish as that.
Anyway, now that I have totally convinced you that A Flock of Seagulls is an underrated band, go buy this record in whatever futuristic format suits your fancy. You won’t be disappointed (not a guarantee). —Chris Auman
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