16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 23 February 2009
"Flash and the Pan" was a studio-project by songwriting team and producers Harry Vanda and George Young that helped by ( unexpected ? ) chart succes turned into a regular 5-piece band. With some line-up changes the band recorded 6 albums during 1978-92 - all with the duo Vanda and Young as songwriters and producers. The duo had also been key-members of 1960's band the Easybeats, who had a world-wide hit with the single "Friday on my Mind".
Though the chart-success of Flash and the Pan was relatively short-lived, most of their albums have been continually available and various compilation have also been released.
Maybe apart from the final ( so far ) album, all their original records feature consistent great catchy original songwriting, skilled musician-ship, clever production and a lot of charm and humour. So obviously if you're unfamiliar with the group any compilation will be attractive.
This most recent compilation I'd consider the most satisfying; not least because it features no less than 19 tracks.
The music is great, but maybe I was little disappointed that one of their finest songs, "Nights in France" still hasn't not been picked out for a compilation; in fact it seems that it's the same tracks that tend to be chosen; the hits are logical choices, but there are overlooked songs from their last 3 albums which would have made fine additions. Moreover the rare b-side "Your Love is Strange" still hasn't made to a CD release.
The liner-notes are relevant but sparse.
Still, conclusion: If you're unfamiliar with this group this CD is highly recommendable.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 7 January 2007
You'd be forgiven for thinking this group were nothing other than a momentary one hit wonder with their only single (that I'm aware of) "Waiting for a Train". A wonderfully infectious and quirky ditty with a strange half spoken half sung vocal delivery that still crops up on the radio now and again. Well, it may have been their only hit but there's an awful lot more to this lot than you might imagine and buying this album will prove it. I'll spare you all the details of the group members and history as there are comprehensive liner notes that make for interesting reading as well as one or two surprise facts.
Musically I'd say they were fairly unique without any obvious comparisons. Darkly comic and at times mysterious yet witty lyrics set to a musical style and arrangement all their own. This compilation showcases wonderfully some fine musicianship and an ability to write superbly crafted pop/rock compositions. If you liked "Waiting for a Train", then you will love this CD and if like me you couldn't possibly imagine how a whole album might sound in a similar style...then buy this and find out. You will not be disappointed.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Flash and the Pan slipped insidiously on to UK airwaves and then the charts in the early 1980s with the fascinating 'Waiting For A Train' and, after one more hit, slipped out again. The song had a similar aura to Laurie Anderson's 'O Superman' without being as bizarre: you found yourself asking, who are these people and where did they come from? It soon transpired that they'd been around for a few years and were the latest project of George Young and Harry Vanda, the Scots-Dutch creative axis of Aussie rabble rousers from the 1960s, The Easybeats.
Listening to this compilation, I heard traces of their earlier band. Once The Easybeats got their standard r&b phase out of the way, they came up with a distinct structure to their writing, without losing their edge. It's a similar scenario here. You can't pigeonhole their brand of music, which dips a toe into r&b, hard rock, pop, soul and even disco at various times without plunging fully into any of those genres. They have great, tight rhythms to their songs and some great melodies. Young's submerged half-spoken vocals give the music an eerie atmosphere and although there are only a couple of familiar tracks on this compilation, it's a surprisingly consistent collection, unlike many such albums that tend to tail off after the hit mine has been exhausted. Highly recommended.