Magazine article The Spectator

Buggles Are Best

Magazine article The Spectator

Buggles Are Best

Article excerpt

Hooray for the one-click purchase.

Reading one of the music monthlies, I saw that the Buggles's second album from 1981, Adventures in Modern Recording, had been released on CD, digitally remastered, with ten extra tracks I clearly had to hear. A mere week or so later, the package came through the letterbox, slightly battered but still just about recognisable as a CD. Anyone who suggests that Amazon has taken away the joy of shopping simply has no soul.

I did have the album, once, long ago. When you lend someone an album that you don't much like or that is easy to replace, they always return it promptly and in good order.

I'm not sure who had Adventures in Modern Recording but if they aren't dead by now they bloody well should be. If I didn't make much fuss at the time it's probably because, during the brief period of their existence, Buggles were painfully unfashionable. 'Video Killed the Radio Star' was the first song ever played on MTV, and in the long run may have been proved wrong. Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes, who had met while auditioning for Tina Charles's band (the shame! ), wrote the rest of their first album, The Age of Plastic, while promoting that single. But what an album! I bought it and played it a thousand times. Everybody else was going on about some dreary northern group called Joy Division. They'll never come to anything, I thought. Give me the Buggles any day, with their great tunes and their studio trickery and their curious amalgam of silly science fiction and nostalgia, so that every song sounded simultaneously of the minute and timelessly old-fashioned. This was studio-built clever-clever British pop, working from a template set by side two of Abbey Road and refined by 10cc, the Electric Light Orchestra and Paul McCartney himself with Wings. This was the sort of music I liked (and still like) more than any other. …

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