A Flock of Seagulls are probably best known for their awesomely bad hair and awesomely bad VH1 comeback. In 1982 though A Flock of Seagulls were no joke. “I Ran” was a big hit for MTV and radio. Great, a big hit. What was awesome about it was that AFoS hit it big on the back of a concept album about modern alienation that sounds still fresh today.
I don’t understand why more post-punk/semi-goth peeps don’t dig on that early Flock of Seagulls sound. It has all the ingredients. Big pseudo-disco drums, upfront melodic bass, the super-chorusy chimey guitar thing, booming and brash vocals and a wash of synthesizer on top. I definitely hear the influence of their contemporaries on A Flock of Seagulls’ sound, especially Killing Joke. I don’t think the band had much in them past that initial debut album. While the first album has that stridently doomy sound, their subsequent work was crafted to maintain a certain level of fame. I have friends that will disagree with me about that, and will swear that the follow-up album Listen is just as essential, but I am not one of those. It is all about the artificial claustrophobia of their debut that seals the deal for me. A Flock of Seagulls’ debut self-titled album belongs on the shelf of every red-blooded gloom pop/post-punk fan.
At the time a lot of attention was paid to lead singer Mike Score’s one-finger synthesizing in the video for “I Ran”, and that somehow was the metaphor for their lack of musicianship. Ya see, these synth pop bands got no talent! Look! That dude plays his instrument with one finger! Yeah, ok. But A Flock of Seagulls were actually a decent live band and were able to present the album live effectively. Hear them live from that tour here on the King Biscuit Flower Hour, from the Metro in Boston, August 4th, 1982. Post-punk’s last hurrah as a commercial entity.
SOURCE: Hard to say. The ultimate original source was an on-air broadcast of this professional recording. It sounds like it was captured on cassette before it made its way to me via CD-R. Ripped @ 192k with iTunes.