A Flock of Seagulls
A Flock of Seagulls


3.5
great

Review

by Divaman USER (80 Reviews)
October 2nd, 2017 | 24 replies


Release Date: 1982 | Tracklist

Review Summary: One of the seminal albums of the '80s.

A Flock of Seagulls is one of those bands that people don't seem to take that seriously today, except on '80s new wave radio stations. I'm pretty sure it's because of lead singer Mike Score's hair. Forget the fact that today he looks like Michael Chiklis, all of the photos of the band back in their heyday were dominated by his puffy blonde locks, much in the same way Aimee Mann's feathered 'do made 'Til Tuesday seem way more ludicrous than their music deserved. Oh, those silly, frivolous '80s bands! Except that like 'Til Tuesday, Flock is band that was far better than people give them credit for.

One listen to A Flock of Seagulls, the band's eponymous 1982 debut, will quickly dispel two myths. First, this band was way more than a one-hit wonder. AFoS contains no less than three songs that were reasonably successful singles, and all three still get airplay on '80s-oriented stations today. And while we're at it, all seven of the other tracks on the album's original release were respectable songs themselves.

The second myth is that this is one of those soppy synthpop bands like Spandau Ballet or OMD that was mostly known for their slow dance tracks. (Disclaimer: I actually don't have a problem with those two bands, so please send all hate comments elsewhere). While the synths are definitely important to the Flock, the truth is, A Flock of Seagulls was more of a guitar-driven band than a synth-pop dominated one, thanks mostly to their young lead guitarist Paul Reynolds.

The singles on AFoS are all memorable. My personal favorite is "Space Age Love Song". This is a deceptively simple song dominated by a chillingly beautiful, all-instrumental chorus that features a great example of some driving guitar by Reynolds. The other highlight of the song is the last verse, when the plainspoken lyrics are sung three times over, in-the-round style. I still get a rush when I hear this part of the song today, although it's now 35 years old.

"I Ran (So Far Away)" is another instantly recognizable track, known for its pulsing guitar and its famous chorus of "And I ran/I ran so far away...." This one was the biggest hit from the album in the U.S., although "Space Age Love Song" was more popular in Britain. The third single, "Telecommunication", didn't chart in the UK, although it did reach #19 on the Billboard Dance Club Charts on my side of the Atlantic. This one is more focused on the synthesizer, but is still driven along by a stylish choppy guitar riff. A fourth single, "Modern Love Is Automatic", didn't chart, although it also became popular within the dance club scene.

One thing of note is that this is a band that wasn't afraid to include all-instrumental tracks on their albums. "DNA" is a pretty nifty little number that some radio stations have used as bumper music over the years. There are also a couple of other instrumental songs included on the 2011 remastered CD as bonus tracks.

This leads me to mention that this is another of those older albums for which there are multiple versions. The original U.S. release featured 10 songs, with "I Ran (So Far Away)" serving as the opening song on the album, while the British version added a song called "Tokyo" that wasn't on the U.S. release and reordered the tracks so that "Modern Love Is Automatic" is the first song. I prefer the flow of the American version, but that's probably because it's what I grew up with. (And Flock being a British band from Liverpool, I'm being very America-centric here, as I'm sure the British version must actually be the original, while the U.S. version is the reordered one. Whatever.) Meanwhile, as I previously mentioned, there's also a 2011 remastered version that includes four bonus tracks.

If you're not really familiar with this band's music, but you have a perception of them from things you think you've heard, I promise you these guys are much better than you think. Their first three albums were all good, and this one and Listen (1983) are actually excellent. It's something of a coin toss as to whether A Flock of Seagulls or Listen is the better album, but clearly, AFoS has the greater number of Flock songs you're likely to recognize. And really, you don't have to choose. Why not listen to both of them" That would be my recommendation, anyway.



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user ratings (59)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Divaman
October 2nd 2017


1522 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

One more review in my continuing quixotic quest to grant full Sputnik reviews to all of those unjustly overlooked-treasure albums from the seventies and eighties.

Digging: Best Ex - Ice Cream Antisocial

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
October 2nd 2017


19647 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

heh I actually know this album, well done but I really didn't enjoy this one. only a couple highlights

e210013
October 2nd 2017


1575 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Diva, you have the strange capability to bring some of my favourite bands of the 80's again to my mind.

Yeah, I always liked to listen to their debut. But I must confess that I only know this album from them. But you are right, they never were another synthpop band. The album is especially focused on the guitar work. And the album is really good as a whole, despite the singles be more proeminents.

I have my vinyl copy on my hands, right now, and I can tell you that it has 11 tracks. By order:



Side 1

Modern Love Is Automatic

Messages

I Ran

Space Age Love Song

You Can Run



Side 2

Telecommunication

Standing In The Doorway

Don't Ask Me

D.N.A.

Tokyo

Man Made



And I can tell you that this is a Portuguese edtidion of 1982.

By the way, did you know other albums of them. Are they great too.

It's really nice to see this reviewd here, and of course, it would have to be you doing this.

Pos. Cheers, buddy.



manosg
Staff Reviewer
October 2nd 2017


10586 Comments


You're doing a good deed covering all those albums, Diva. I'm afraid that the only song by these guys I'm familiar with is "I Ran (So Far Away)" which is pretty good.

Sweet review as always, pos.

Digging: Travelin Jack - Commencing Countdown

MrSirLordGentleman
October 2nd 2017


10943 Comments


Niiiiiiice Flock of Seagulls!

Cool job dude!

SandwichBubble
October 2nd 2017


4777 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Album's pretty good, nice job Diva

Digging: Friction - Friction

bloc
October 2nd 2017


44261 Comments


Obviously I Ran is god tier but I have never heard the rest

Digging: Beastmilk - Climax

Divaman
October 2nd 2017


1522 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks guys. e, your copy matches the British release. That's probably what was released throughout Europe. The U.S. version, which I grew up with, is:



1. I Ran (So Far Away)

2. Space Age Love Song

3. You Can Run

4. Don't Ask Me

5. Messages

6. Telecommunication

7. Modern Love Is Automatic

8. Standing in the Doorway

9. D.N.A.

10. Man Made



I think I probably owned it first on cassette tape, not on vinyl.

BMDrummer
October 2nd 2017


14025 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

fuck yes underrated album

neekafat
October 2nd 2017


5944 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Gonna read this once I get to class, but awesome that you reviewed this, this is the second review you've written that I was thinking about doing too lol

Divaman
October 2nd 2017


1522 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great minds think alike, neeka.

Jethro42
October 2nd 2017


15116 Comments


I instantly recognized and enjoyed ''I Ran (So Far Away)'', so they're not a totally unknown band to me. I presume they have some others airplayed hits.

bloc
October 2nd 2017


44261 Comments


Other than that one song, I doubt it

foxblood
October 2nd 2017


7320 Comments


this is not bad, but i'm pretty sure they were perceived as a one hit wonder

Divaman
October 2nd 2017


1522 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well, "Wishing" from the "Listen album was pretty well known too.

neekafat
October 3rd 2017


5944 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Space Age Love Song" is excellent yes, I didn't realize how good "I Ran" was until I heard it on this album

Great review Diva! I personally though that the paragraph on all the different versions of the album was a bit out of place an distracted from the rest of the album and could've been left for the comments, but otherwise I really liked it! Have a pos my friend (:

Drifter
October 3rd 2017


6990 Comments


*walks into thread




I RAAAAAAN, I RAN SO FAR AWAAAAYYYYY




*walks out of thread

Divaman
October 3rd 2017


1522 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks neeka. I think I wrote about it because it drove me crazy. I purchased the CD not that long ago, and when I listened to it, my first thought was that this wasn't the album I remembered. Then when I researched it, I discovered it was because my CD was the British release, not the American one I was used to.

bloc
October 3rd 2017


44261 Comments


Drifter, I think you mean *runs out of thread

neekafat
October 3rd 2017


5944 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ohhhhhhh makes sense man!



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