• Buggles
  • The Age of Plastic (Island) 1980 
  • Adventures in Modern Recording (UK Carrere) 1982 
  • Bruce Woolley and the Camera Club
  • Bruce Woolley and the Camera Club (Columbia) 1979 
  • English Garden (UK CBS) 1979 
  • Firmament and the Elements
  • The Essential EP (Press) 1983 

After “Video Killed the Radio Star” changed the course of electro-pop forever, it was straight downhill for the Buggles as a group. The two members, however, proved a lot more durable on their own: Geoffrey Downes went on to grand success with Yes and Asia; Trevor Horn became a hit record producer (for ABC and Malcolm McLaren) before founding ZTT Records and foisting Frankie Goes to Hollywood on an unsuspecting world.

While The Age of Plastic was a disappointment to fans of the Buggles’ cogent 45s, Adventures amounts to little more than a self-explanatory post-mortem. Both albums are technically stunning, reasonably catchy and crashingly hollow.

Early Buggles associate Bruce Woolley co-wrote several of the band’s songs, including “Video Killed the Radio Star” and “Clean Clean.” Woolley’s own versions of both tunes — predating the Buggles’ “Radio Star” hit (which scraped the US Top 40 in December ’79) — are contained on English Garden (retitled for American release), an LP of light power pop reminiscent of certain sides of the Move. As a would-be radio star, Woolley was doomed in the ’70s by his devotion to the ’60s, and the record vanished in the techno-pop flood. The Camera Club, however, can claim fame of a sort for Thomas Dolby’s pre-fame membership.

In the ’80s, Woolley abandoned the past and discovered the future. Along with his brother Guy, he formed a semi-experimental oddity, Firmament and the Elements. The intriguing EP contains nice tunes as well as bizarre effects.

[Ira Robbins]

See also: Art of Noise, Frankie Goes to Hollywood