The Comsat Angels, C.S. Angels, The Headhunters, Dream Command...  All this & more
The Tin Can Club, Birmingham
Chatting to Mike (sic), the lead singer of The Comsat Angels, I had the uneasy feeling I was talking to myself.  I had this picture of someone sitting on a demolition site settee talking to the wall, or was there someone else?

The Comsat’s have often been described as nondescript.  Yet I wonder why they received two encores from an otherwise unsympathetic audience.  Their live set reminds me of the bad taste a Simple Minds / Flock of Seagulls set leaves behind.  A new album, Land, falls into the often trod China Crisis / OMD fiasco.  Okay, you may think this is no bad thing.  But for someone who feels that present chartbound material has merged into a poorly nondescript, escapist sound, this is not okay, okay?

What do you think of the present lack of any musical direction?

Mike (still sic!): “I don’t agree that there is any lack of direction.  Everyone is exploring different aspects of music, without one aspect receiving undue limelight.”

Do you think that Will You Stay Tonight has been moderately successful (improved airplay) because of its easily understood lyrics?

Mike:  “I agree that the lyrics are self explanatory, but I wouldn’t say (as you were suggesting) that they should be thought of as rather low grade, just because they are easy to understand.”

What do you think of the Art Of Noise 12 inch and producers who “play the studio”?  Do you think that songs which have a complete lack of heart are more applicable to our present state of despair?

Mike: “I haven’t actually heart the Art Of Noise 12inch.  But I think that most people will always look for escapism in a song.  You might get the few elite who prefer music which reflects reality, but the majority will always go for escapism.”

Do you think that Test Department, SPK, Neubaten. etc should be listened to from a new direction, like abstract art?

Mike: “Although I don’t know much about the “Industrial Direction”, I have heard Test Department’s Shockwork which I don’t find that shocking.  I find that its quite acceptable for musicians to go off in weird and wonderful directions, but if they go completely off the rails and lose the power of mass communication, I can’t see the point in them calling themselves musicians.  You can still explore the unknown depths of musical sound, but if you lose the power of communication, what’s the point in carrying on?”

After reading this you probably come to the opinion that I disapprove of the line The Comsats are taking.  I must admit that their live set reflects what live music is all about.  Yet I’m left with the question ”there must be more.”

Gordon Shrigley

North East Music No2 1984

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