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FLYS (Buy CDs by this artist)
Bunch of Five EP7 (UK Zama) 1977
Four from the Square EP (UK Parlophone) 1978
Waikiki Beach Refugees (UK EMI) 1978
Own (UK EMI) 1979

Although they neither dressed the part nor were tied down by its musical clichés, Coventry's Flys (not to be confused with a subsequent Boston outfit) used the feel of mod-era bands like the Who and Creation as a jumping-off point for the highly individual songs of guitarist/singer Neil O'Connor, perhaps best exemplified by the single "Love and a Molotov Cocktail."

Waikiki Beach Refugees is one of those minor masterpieces that passed unnoticed, probably because it preceded the full-scale mod revival (by months). Nevertheless, the songs are beautifully constructed — O'Connor's jangling 12-string meshing with Dave Freeman's power chords to create a brilliant metallic sound. The best songs — "We Don't Mind the Rave," "Don't Moonlight on Me" and "I Don't Know" — express both the bravado and confusion of adolescence with a rare eye for detail.

Own is, by contrast, rather bland. The songs, co-written by O'Connor and Freeman, lack the urgency of those on the first album. Not bad, mind you, but a letdown from the expectations the previous outing engendered.

[Dave Schulps]