The Comsat Angels, C.S. Angels, The Headhunters, Dream Command...  All this & more
The Comsat Angel's albums - A Perspective
Part 1
Waiting For A Miracle
Waiting For A Miracle album cover

Missing In Action / "Baby" / Independence Day / Waiting For A Miracle / Total War / On The Beach / Monkey Pilot / Real Story / Map Of The World / Postcard / Home Is The Range* / We Were* / Ju Ju Money*

*1995 RPM CD reissue extra tracks

The bands first album, released for the first time on CD in 1995, is one of the most startling debuts I have ever heard. The album contains the original version of The Comsat's most well-known track, Independence Day - which sounds as powerful today as it did when originally released in 1980. Waiting For A Miracle, Baby & Monkey Pilot are my other favourites from the album. Listening to Waiting For A Miracle in 1996 (16 years after it was released!) you could tell this was a band still learning their craft, and willing to swim against the tide. Postcard sounds like a band on their third album - with it's minimal opening - deep bass and crashing conclusion. If only all music was as powerful and emotive as this.

"Say something - say anything"

Some LP's (5,000 to be exact) were pressed with an alternate mix of Independence Day - check the label - if the band is listed as The Comsat "Angles", you've got a rarity on your hands!

Buy the 2015 Edsel re-issue of Waiting for a Miracle on double CD and single vinyl from Amazon.

"Waiting for a miracle - but nothing ever happens"
Sleep No More
Sleep No More

Eye Dance / Sleep No More / Be Brave / Gone / Dark Parade / Diagram / Restless / Goat Of The West / Light Years / Our Secret / Eye Of The Lens* / Another World* / At Sea* / (Do The) Empty House* / Red Planet Revisited*

*1995 RPM CD reissue extra tracks

The Comsat's second album is a lot harder and more intense than their debut. It's pretty harrowing in places, but well worth the ride (especially now, with the clarity of CD). The CD re-issue contains one of my favourite early Comsat tracks - Eye Of The Lens.
The Comsats sound like a band possessed on Sleep No More. Steve's guitar playing, in particular, is on top form. From driving power-chords to spacey washes of sound, underpinned by deep bass & pounding drums - with washes of distorted keyboards and sound effects. The band even commented on events of the time - Dark Parade is about the American's ill-fated hostage rescue attempt in Iran.
Steve Fellows - Sleep No More Tour - Arnhem 23/10/82
Our Secret is full of hidden worlds and unspoken promises - with a rallying cry chorus:
"We will never, we will never,
we will never give it up."
Restless is an atmospheric, harmonic-laden piece - with whispered vocals and scatter-gun percussion. Gone highlights Kevin & Mik's extraordinary understanding of the need for restraint to build a rhythmic tension in a song - then letting go completely as the song reaches its climax.

Buy the 2015 Edsel re-issue of Sleep No More on double CD and single vinyl from Amazon.

Fiction cover

After The Rain / Zinger / Now I Know / Not A Word / Ju Ju Money / More / Pictures / Birdman / Don't Look Now / What Else!? / It's History* / After The Rain (remix)* / Private Party* / Mass*

*1995 RPM CD reissue extra tracks

The intensity of Sleep No More eased up just a little with Fiction. The album opens with another classic Comsat's hit-that-never-was in After The Rain. Now I Know is quite conventional in arrangement - but all the more unique for it. Birdman & Ju Ju Money are stirring songs - performed with a deftness of touch.

Don't Look Now features the sort of guitar style that U2's The Edge would dine out on for many years to come. I promise not to mention that again. Why this album did not establish The Comsat's as a band of the size of some of their more well-known contempories, I'll never know.

One more for the road?  Andy Peake - drunk as a skunk - somewhere - at some time...

A Pop jewel in the shape of What Else!? lurks towards the close of the set - sounding like a cynical Beatles cross-bred with The Cure - but oh what a beautiful baby! Steve's voice begs the listener to "get together" as the "lights go out" - but warning that "There is always something else".

The 1995 RPM CD re-issue also includes the single It's History and the rare track Mass (which was actually a Sleep No More out-take).

Buy the 2015 Edsel re-issue of Fiction on double CD and single vinyl from Amazon.

Enz cover
Independence Day / (Do The) Empty House / Total War / It's History / Another World / Eye Of The Lens / At Sea / Mass / Home Is The Range / After The Rain


A Dutch only release, as the title suggests - an odds ‘n ends collection - tying up hard to get hold of ‘b' sides - and the previously unreleased Mass (a Sleep No More out-take that re-surfaced with the RPM re-issues).


Enz - back cover photo
The album stands up well as a release in it's own right - but it's collectabilty is diminished somewhat, as all the tracks are now available on the CD re-issues.
Mik Glaisher - not down a lift shaft
The sleeve-notes are interesting - with the Comsat's throwing some light on the meaning behind some of the tracks. Apparently:
Do The Empty House is a song where you can "spot the terrible pun - it concerns a house we used to live in..."

It's History was "intended as a comment on the double standard - the girls know what I mean - but maybe a bit too subtle...."

Eye Of The Lens "Can the camera steal your soul? In certain ways, I think so. A horror story of the most basic kind, but not without a little irony. I hope."

Mass - "as in 'en-masse' or 'admass' not meant in the religious sense...Close observers may notice a certain similarity with lines in 'Private Party'. I suppose this could be subtitled 'Public Party'..."

Home Is The Range - "This song displays our fascination with NOISE (it has to be relevant noise though)..."

After The Rain - "A sentimental song...I would like to say that the LP was not called FICTION for nothing you know!"

Land cover
Will You Stay Tonight / Alicia (Can You Hear Me) / A World Away / Independence Day / Nature Trails / Scissors & The Stone / Mister Memory / Island Heart / I Know That Feeling / As Above So Below / Shining Hour
The bands most outright commercial album - containing the radio-hit Will You Stay Tonight? - saw some fans outraged at the change in direction. I remember reading a review of a London gig around this time - and apparently an audience member shouted "Sell out" - Steve then out heckled the heckler by replying "At least I haven't got a beard!". And he still hasn't (see pictorial evidence elsewhere in this site!).
Land cover back photo
The keyboards are more prominent on this album - which is more "Pop" orientated than previous releases. The band were pursuaded to re-record Independence Day by Jive - while this version is good - the tension of the original is far superior to my ears. My personal faves from this album include Nature Trails, Will You Stay Tonight? (pure Pop thrills) and Island Heart.

I associate different records with different periods in my life - and Land is no exception - being released in one of my favourite musical periods - shortly after the release of ABC's Lexicon Of Love (Sheffield again!) and The Associates Sulk. The Comsat's Land album fitted in perfectly with this new Pop vision. Around this time Steve Fellows and Andy Peake also played live as part of The Human League's backing band - at a one-off charity benefit in Sheffield City Hall.

Live in Europe - with Ian Cunningham on guitar
Buy the 2015 Edsel re-issue of Land at Amazon.
7 Day Weekend
7 Day Weekend cover
Believe It / Forever Young / You Move Me / I'm Falling / Close Your Eyes / Day One / You're The Heroine / High Tide / New Heart And Hand / Still It's Not Enough
The bands final release on Jive - the album and its singles sank without trace in the UK. It is a bit of a halfway house album - straddling the commerciality of Land and the Comsat's regular sound and finally emerging unscathed as a collection of fine songs. High Tide is probably the stand-out track (it really should have been a single) - closely followed by Day One.  An excellent 12" remix of Day One was issued - as opposed to the not so good 12" mix of I'm Falling.  

I'm Falling is probably the Comsat's 2nd best well-known song, due to it's inclusion in the fondly remembered 80's US film Real Genius.  If I'd received a $ for every e-mail I've received asking about this song....

Steve Fellows favourite (expensive) shirt (later ripped).  Utrecht 21/11/85.   
The Comsat's profile was probably at it's lowest during this period. Jive were still trying to break The Comsat's as a hit singles band - releasing track after track as singles.
The band's patience with Jive finally snapped around this time - Steve Fellows was given an acetate of the 12" re-mix of I'm Falling - and on hearing the overdubbed guitar solo (by an unknown session player) - popped the 12" in pieces through the record companies letter box. The band and label parted company soon after!

Many Comsat's followers had given up on the band by this point - but even now the album shows a definite maturity in the bands writing and performance.  And those who hung on were soon to be rewarded with more fine music.

Buy the 2015 Edsel re-issue of 7 Day Weekend at Amazon.

For Part 2 of "The Real Story", click here

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