Modern Romance

  • Modern Romance
  • Adventures in Clubland (Atlantic) 1981 
  • Party Tonight (UK Ronco) 1983 
  • Trick of the Light (Atlantic) 1983 
  • Burn It! (RCA) 1985 
  • Buzzards
  • Jellied Eels to Record Deals (UK Chrysalis) 1979 

Although the Buzzards (originally the Leyton Buzzards) appeared on the surface to be another London-area group of punk/reggae dilettantes, closer examination revealed the quartet to be, in fact, a subversive vehicle for satiric songwriters Geoff Deane (vocals) and David Jaymes (bass). Comprising all their recorded output, this seventeen-track retrospective is jammed with lively (if heavy-handed) potshots at everything from Pink Floyd (“No Dry Ice or Flying Pigs”) to modern mores (“Disco Romeo”) to punk itself (“We Make a Noise”). And be sure not to miss “Saturday Night Beneath the Plastic Palm Trees.” The tone throughout is cheerfully abusive; it’s appropriate that two (Monty) Pythons get thanked on the cover.

Underscoring the band’s undiscovered assets, Deane and Jaymes went on to major commercial stardom playing dance music as Modern Romance.

Formerly doing business as minor-league punk parodists the (Leyton) Buzzards, Geoffrey Deane and David Jaymes switched styles radically without altering their outlook and became a UK chart sensation. Adventures in Clubland is fake disco-salsa, with enough beat to satisfy the most demanding feet and enough smirking to prove they don’t believe a second of it. For proof, sample “Bring on the Funkateers” or “Ay Ay Ay Ay Moosey.” Regardless — or perhaps because — of the insincerity, this is good fun.

A subsequent split left bassist Jaymes in sole command but hardly shorthanded, and he took the quintet for another joyride on Trick of the Light, hitting an infectious happy-feet high on “Best Years of Our Lives,” rhumba-ing through “High Life,” swinging in big-band land on “Don’t Stop That Crazy Rhythm” and so on well into the night. (Well, for 40 minutes at least.) Again, a good time is assured for all.

Party Tonight, a best-of compiled for sale via UK television ads, has everything you’d ever want to hear by Modern Romance, and then some. But Jaymes wasn’t quite ready to close the book, even if the English audience was totally unmoved by Modern Romance’s subsequent album. Produced by Tony Visconti, Burn It! is a totally bland dance record, a post-disco soul-pop mush that seems custom-made for elevators.

[Jon Young / Ira Robbins]