Something momentous happened this month. While making my decision about which album I should choose for the coveted spot of Album of the Month, I consulted my father. He agreed with my choice, almost immediately.
Readers, this is unprecedented. Our dear Paul quite nearly disowned me for heralding Youthquake. But he and I are both great fans of Thomas Dolby. His third studio album; Aliens Ate My Buick (1988) might well make Album of the Year.
But we are not here to speak about that, we are here to hear of The Flat Earth. What a masterful piece of music. I would go so far as to say it is a work of art. This album should be protected by UNESCO. I bought the vinyl before listening to the mp3, which is highly unusual for me. When I spoke to Ian at Vinyl Destination, I said “I shall have to buy this record”. He replied “I shall have to agree”. Little did Ian know, he would change my life in a delectably positive way.
When The Flat Earth was released in March 1984, no-one in the UK quite knew what to make of Dolby. And he delighted and perplexed his audience with a record that refused to fit into any pigeonhole whatsoever. (BBC 2009)
From the first note to the last, The Flat Earth is hugely significant. Below is the first track from this momentous album, and my favourite:
As you can hear, this is indeed a work of masterful art.
…the humanity of its creators shines through. (The Quietus 2009)
But the hits don’t stop there; each songs seems tailored to make you feel a throng of emotions. Mostly joy, but sometimes abject horror. This is the key to this album for me; listen carefully to the lyrics, (Screen Kiss is a good example) some of the subject matter might surprise you. I’m listening to White City now and I am in a state of pure bliss. Each stand of this song is brilliant. The strong notable baseline underpinning super synth; the slow crescendo expanding into a riveting rant criticising the banking system. Then the song expands into a government cocaine conspiracy.
Gorgeous transitions between songs also win me over. The chirping insects leading from the White City to Mulu The Rain Forrest and I scare myself. The album has a narrative quality which I have not seen since hearing Grace Jones’ Slave to The Rhythm. Cutting in lyrics in reverse and outtakes from interviews with Dolby make for hair raising listening. Trying to depict the splendour of this album in one light is difficult. I truly believe you’ll enjoy it.
In few words, this album is overwhelmingly superb. Give it a listen and let me know what you think. And remember:
The Earth can be any shape you want it, any shape at all.”