Radiators from Space

  • Radiators from Space
  • TV Tube Heart (UK Chiswick) 1977 
  • Radiators
  • Ghostown (UK Chiswick) 1979 + 1989 

London independent label Chiswick discovered these early Irish punk frontiersmen in Dublin; although never a commercial success, the Radiators from Space were a wonderful find. Their recording career, which actually predated the debut vinyl of such first wavers as the Clash and Elvis Costello, evinces talent and intelligence far beyond many of the forgotten bands of that generation.

TV Tube Heart may not have been revolutionary, but energetic delivery of clever and melodic songs about such soon-to-become-hackneyed topics as the music press and club denizens make it a much better survivor of its era than many now hopelessly dated artifacts. From the outset, Radiators from Space showed themselves to be a better breed of punk.

Ghostown, produced by Tony Visconti, is nearly a power pop record with some unsettling flaws damaging another batch of good tunes. One item is almost identical to later Boomtown Rats (although who recorded it first is unclear); there’s also a trite ’50s homage that seems out of place. Ghostown does have its moments, though, and several tracks have the same wonderful feel as the second Fingerprintz LP. Obviously a band with great untapped potential, the Radiators were a surprisingly sophisticated bunch whose records are worth hearing. (The reissue has new artwork, a different track sequence and two cuts from a 1988 reunion.)

In 1985, singer/guitarist Philip Chevron surfaced in association with Elvis Costello as a producer and performer; he then joined the Pogues.

[Ira Robbins]