The Comsat Angels, C.S. Angels, The Headhunters, Dream Command...  All this & more
It saint what you do...  
New Musical Express 6/8/1983
Comsat Angels 
Venue
The return of the boys who were too nice. 
NME 6/8/83

After the silence, the re-establishment of genuine talent - trapped between the twin beacons of Duranís superficial pop gloss and the Bunnymen's brooding cult stardom Ė The Comsat Angels forgot to uphold the pretence of being commercial upstarts and resort to their only engagingly fumbled naturalness with a show that both emphasised their undoubted passionate outpourings and underlined their shortcomings as potential chart residents. 

Quite simply, they lack the celebratory grandeur which Simple Minds impose upon an event, seem unable to whip up the fervent fanaticism that drives on U2 and are rightly unwilling to submerge their powerful rhythms and highly individual melody structures under a soporific dirge of radio fodder. Too much of today's pop is like liquidised baby food ready to be spoon-fed to a radio audience that is deaf, dumb and blind. 

But it's easy to see why the Comsat's are perpetual outsiders, bearing impressively rich gifts but never being admitted to the party (gatecrash, lads - that's the message!). 

Their music is too startling and moody to blend in with the bland background of  commercial formula soundtracks - you can still easily detect the marvelous constituent elements that dovetail so precisely and invigoratingly, so that a perplexing abundance of enticing moods and movements can dazzle ears used to the aural equivalent of sludge. 

But the audience warmth - with shrieking greeting calls of "Sheffieeeeld" punctuating a buzz of excitement - is based more on a sense of belonging as the band display their non-fashion (by as opposed to anti-fashion) stance and striking musical layer-cake. 

So it never really seems to matter that The Comsat Angels just don't have enough glamour - even when the addition of another guitarist for live work has given them exactly the same line-up as Duran Duran, they still seem a touch ordinary (ďthe dustbin men of rockĒ resident sociologist Dave McCulloch once called them), looking more like the New Wave Dave Clark Five or post - modernist reformation of The Animals - with a vocalist Steve Fellows , relieved of his guitaring chores, a dead ringer for a rejuvenated Eric Burdon.

The new songs (long awaited 4th LP due soon!) Ė apart from the too rocky Alicia, which the band later assured me Iíll grow to love Ė are refinements of previous innovations rather than new trail-blazing paths, but Mr Memory and Nature Trails were particularly enticing and enjoyably catchy.  They havenít surrendered to the temptation of three-minute ditties with ludicrous nursery-rhyme choruses but have edged warily towards a sharper, cleaner sound which slices rather than slashes.

Dotted round like holiday snapshots were old gems like Independence Day and Eye Of The Lens as the level of performance gradually soared with a matchless fluidity and confirmed that the enforced rest hasnít seized up their wings.

The Angels are flying again, and this time, heaven canít wait. 

Johnny Waller 

Sounds 3/9/83

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