October 22, 1984 12:00 PM

A Flock of Seagulls

In the brave new world of rock video, with MTV programmers arbitrating musical tastes in 22 million American homes, success has become a quirkier commodity than ever. Novelty of appearance has always been dear to popular music (remember Paul Revere and the Raiders or Arthur Brown of Crazy World fame) but, with the burgeoning of videos, a startling visual image or a supersexy model in a group’s clip can boost record sales to a degree previously unimaginable. The massive popularity of A Flock of Seagulls, a quartet from Liverpool, would seem to be due at least as much to singer Mike Score’s spectacularly wild coiffure as to such hits as I Ran and Wishing (I Had a Photograph of You). Until recently his hair appeared to be patterned after the plumage of the crested quail. Score’s voice will never set the world on fire or even start it smoldering. But it is well suited to AFOS’ third LP, which, at first listen, seems an unsatisfyingly bloodless and facile affair. That may be due to the group’s apparent preference for working in flat key signatures. But such tracks as European (I Wish I Was), Over My Head and Heart of Steel do tend to sound better the more they are played. Anyway, these guys are, after all, getting on-the-job training. When a musically untrained hairdresser (Score’s former occupation) and his salon assistant (bassist Frank Maudsley) can gussy themselves up and make it to the top of the pops, well, that kind of success story should be an inspiration to us all. (Jive/ Arista)

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