• Flys
  • 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]