• Flatmates
  • Happy All the Time EP (UK Subway Organisation) 1987 
  • You're Gonna Cry EP (UK Subway Organisation) 1987 
  • Heaven Knows EP (Subway Organization) 1988 
  • Janice Long Session EP (UK Night Tracks/Strange Fruit) 1988 
  • Shimmer EP (UK Subway Organisation) 1988 
  • Love and Death (The Flatmates 86-89) (Subway Organization) 1990 

Over the course of four years, England’s Flatmates unleashed a series of loudly perfect two-to-three-minute pop blasts, all on singles or four-song 12-inch EPs. That they never made an album is a telling clue to the quartet’s aesthetic, favoring the fix of one radio-ready masterpiece over the cumbersome yearly compiling of a “major” work. Had the Shangri-Las (perhaps fronted by Nico!) been backed by the Buzzcocks, the Flatmates would have been soulmates.

From the quartet’s heart-grabbing first single (“I Could Be in Heaven”) to its exquisite feedback finale (“My Empty Head”), the Flatmates’ approach remained consistent, with only a gradual upgrading of sound quality marking the years. How jewels like “Heaven Knows” and “Turning You Blue” avoided becoming international smashes is beyond comprehension. The posthumous 20-track Love and Death CD (the vinyl omits six) gathers together most of the band’s work, adding a few glittering odds and ends.

[Scott McCaughey]