A Flock of Seagulls: Dream Come True (Arista)

AFTER THEIR 1982 debut became one of that year’s most popular albums, A Flock of Seagulls found itself unable to expand on its kinetic, reductive electro-pop. In view of their recent floundering, it seems like an act of desperation rather than part of their evolution that the Gulls have landed in the crowded nest of funk. Nor is it surprising that they’ve laid a big egg.

Although the album jacket pompously declares that Dream Come True was “produced for people with two ears,” the graceless excess of the Flock’s arrangements is deafening: peals of lead guitar, drums thundering like a herd of elephants, tumbling synths, background vocalists excavating their lungs. Bassist Frank Maudsley, in particular, plays as though he’s being paid by the note — he shows no feeling for rhythmic subtleties.

These Liverpudlians’ idea of being funky is the lame salaciousness of ‘Love on Your Knees’, which should provide minutes of laughter for Rick James. Mike Score’s stilted vocals lack subtlety or expression, thus suiting the dim range of his themes: Love Before (‘Who’s That Girl [She’s Got It]’), Love During (‘Heartbeat Like a Drum’, the current single) and Love After (‘Cry Like a Baby’). Three of the nine songs are coproduced by Wayne Brathwaite, who has done arresting work with Billy Ocean and Whodini, but only on the album-closing ‘Whole Lot of Loving’ does he corral the Gulls’ fortissimo intemperance. Elsewhere Dream Come True can almost incite nostalgia for the Power Station.

© Rob TannenbaumRolling Stone, 5 June 1986

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