Album Reviews of the 80s

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Flash and the Pan, "Out of Orbit" / 1982 Review by: damien geoffrey nichol
Out of Orbit was a remarkable new challenge for Flash and the Pan. After their previous three albums - Magnet Woman, Died with A Sword, and Can't Break a New Buck (all successful in their home town of Sydney), Harry and George clearly decided to break from their power pop roots and produce a slew of fanciful, trippy, electro-ballads in a whole new style.

Out of Orbit was not, as the title might suggest, a sci-fi record, but it did embrace the fashionable-at-the-time synthesizer rock tradition. Harry, who had previously taken the back seat in Flash and the Pan work, preferring to concentrate only on 'found noise', classic backing vocals and occasional treated guitar and bass, now took lead vocals on most tracks - indeed, rock historian Glenn A. Baker has suggested that George quit the band for some time during the making of the record - only returning when he realised that Harry's new direction was 'actually great'!

Standout tracks on Out of Orbit are the dreamy, mellifluous Cool as a Cucumber (also the first single) and the uptempo, almost techno-before-its-time You're on the Rampage (And I'm on the Frontpage). Though it's hard to find (and has yet to be reissued on CD), Out of Orbit is a unique and invaluable chapter in the Flash and the Pan oeuvre.

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