Whenever the Comsats are mentioned it's always accompanied by words like "dark", "brooding", "majestic" etc, and after a while it gets a bit tiring, particularly when the word "pompous" could also be used.
it's also depressing because I was 24 when this was released.
The good side is that the record sounds fantastic. I don't know how they did it (particularly the drum sound) but the "dark brooding" has a lot to do with the sound, which was..well, dark and brooding.
Another good side is that, unlike some of their dark and brooding contemporaries, the Comsat Angels had a pop sensibility and wrote some good songs, SOME being the operative word. Songs like "Eye Dance" and "Restless" are top notch. Others however are not so good. "Dark Parade" is too pompous prog-rock for me and, like Joy Division, the Comsat Angels wandered dangerously into prog pomp territory, with booming drums, self-important arrangements, and pretentious lyrics. Joy Division however had that same pop sensibility ("Transmission", "Love will tear us apart") which rescued them from the dark brooding depths of their own trenchcoats.
The downside is that this record is very samey. I normally gave up after four tracks because it was the same thing over and over again, and although the songs were strong, they weren't strong enough to stretch the sound over 40 minutes.
I still think their best hour was "Independence Day", where they matched their dark brooding sound with a really good catchy pop song - now that is very difficult and not many bands could pull it off.
So this is a good record and very much a record of its time - but it's no masterpiece and never will be, although "Eye Dance" must have the best arpeggiated guitar part ever.