THE WORST LIVE SHOW I’VE EVER SEEN…..BUT……

The lead song from this 1981 release was supposed to be part of the throwaway and disposable New Romantics EP which I put together for my wee brother’s birthday yesterday.

The thing is, A Flock of Seagulls are, by a long chalk, the worst headline band it’s ever been my misfortune to see and after the gig, at Strathclyde Students Union in 1982, I never again listened to them knowingly.

They were so badly off-key and out of sync on the night that they were genuinely painful to listen to, with many walking out. It seemed strange, given that all the UK music papers were full of how the Liverpool quartet had conquered the USA and were about to do the same over here. In the end, they enjoyed a fleeting moment of fame when Wishing (I Had A Photograph Of You) hit the Top 10, but it was far less than what they had experienced with earlier single I Ran (So Far Away) which sold millions in the States, thanks in part to the video being on heavy rotation on the newly launched MTV.

I’ve long ago lost or given away my copy of the debut album, but I do still have a 12″ EP and, as I said at the top of this post, was ready to give it away the lead track very cheaply just yesterday…..until I played it.

The opening minute and forty seconds or so are not what I remembered or expected….it’s as gothic as anything from The Cure/Bauhaus/Sisters of Mercy and indeed, if heard in isolation, the guitar work is akin to the late and great John McGeogh.

mp3 : A Flock of Seagulls – Modern Love Is Automatic

It does kind of degenerates a bit when the vocal kicks in, but even then there is the occasional burst of guitar to rise above the averageness of the melody.

The next song also caught me out in that the guitar playing is very reminiscent of The Skids!!

mp3 : A Flock of Seagulls – Telecommunication

I suppose I shouldn’t really be too surprised given that the production on this track is credited to Bill Nelson who worked very closely with the late Stuart Adamson on the album Days In Europa.

The third track on the A-side of the EP….and another surprise with a guitar-led instrumental:-

mp3 : A Flock of Seagulls – D.N.A.

OK, it does get a tad repetitive but it doesn’t go on for too long at just two-and-a-half minutes.

Flipping over to the B-side:-

mp3 : A Flock of Seagulls – Windows
mp3 : A Flock of Seagulls – You Can Run

Ah….this brings back those memories which were buried very deep.

Windows was one in the live setting where the singing really hurt the ears while the latter is one of those clichéd efforts that should be have been left at the demo stage (also sounds as if it’s a different lead vocalist than usual).

But hey, let’s face it, I’ve found that there was more to AFOS than a lead singer with a dodgy haircut, later immortalised in Pulp Fiction.

JC