A Flock of Seagulls - "Remixes and Rarities"

A Flock of Seagulls: “Remixes and Rarities”

With a name that will always be synonymous with a certain style of haircut, it’s often easy to forget that A Flock of Seagulls were fairly major players in the early ’80s electronic scene and gave us some memorable hits into the bargain too. Still, who can resist mocking those sporting a certain type of floppy ‘do?

Remixes and Rarities is a pretty comprehensive description of the album’s contents. The inlay booklet that accompanies the two CD set is nicely done, comprising a short overview of the band’s history, lyrics and discography. The compilation itself is spread out over two hours, although with only nine different tracks on the album it does start to sound a bit contrived towards the end and is possibly more suited to the hardcore fans. Having said that, the variety of mixes is well thought out and although the variety is limited, the track listing is spread out well so by the time I Ran comes round again there are at least two or three different tracks wedged between mixes. As you would expect, all the hits are there in various guises and so will please the casual listener, though there are some hidden gems such as a live rendition of The Traveller and the wonderful 12″ mix of Never Again (The Dancer). I was particularly delighted by the addition of The Last Flight of Yuri Gagarin, which surely should be on all ISS astronauts’ playlists as they ride to the stars strapped to a Soyuz rocket.

I’ve always liked A Flock of Seagulls for their ethereal, otherworldly sound, although the nod to OMD on Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You) and the layers of the ever so slightly creepy Nightmares (which I swear Robert Smith must have had a hand in) really make these two tracks stand out in particular. However, the band is extremely capable of crafting a fine, upbeat pop tune as evidenced by Heartbeat Like a Drum. On the other hand, the long version of Rosenmontag is just a tad too long and the singles medley was an unexpectedly awful “Flock on 45” moment – not the most elegant way to end what is a good collection of the band’s back catalogue.

On the whole, Remixes and Rarities is a fine way to while away a couple of hours and the variety of the mixes ensures that there’s plenty to lure in the casual listener while keeping the purist happy.

7/10

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