Researching the flat earth for the past year has been a guilty pleasure that I never wanted to admit, but I can't keep it in any longer. I am prepared to be ridiculed by the ignorant majority.
When award-winning journalist Nick Davies decided to break Fleet Street's unwritten rule by investigating his own colleagues, he found that the business of reporting the truth had been slowly subverted by the mass production of ignorance. Working with a network of off-the-record sources, Davies uncovered the story of the prestigious "Sunday" newspaper which allowed the CIA and MI6 to plant fiction in its columns; the newsroom which routinely rejects stories about black people; the respected paper that hired a professional fraudster to set up a front company to entrap senior political figures; the newspapers which support law and order while paying cash bribes to bent detectives.
Exceptionally mature for a sophomore effort, The Flat Earth has held up considerably well since its 1984 release. This staying power belongs to a fantastic ensemble of supporting players as much as to Thomas Dolby's songwriting and crisp production. "Dissidents" steps in cautiously and conjures images of blacklisted authors and ugly snow, gray from oppression. Here and elsewhere, Matthew Seligman's bass is a welcome addition – throughout the album his work is lavish, growling, popping through octaves, funk-a-fied and twinkling with harmonics. The title track, "The Flat Earth," is a wondrous R&B daydream of piano and Motown stabs of rhythm guitar. "Screen Kiss" has a similarly ethereal quality, and the lyrics are lush with imagery, if occasionally cryptic. "White City"'s drug reference and chugging groove are as murky as they are energizing, so new wavers might find themselves frowning a bit on the dancefloor. Then there is "Mulu the Rain Forest," a globally minded curiosity of foreboding and disorienting samples that certainly feels a long way off from The Golden Age of Wireless.
Mid-level psychedelic organ-guitar-driven rock, with a more focused sense of song construction than many such efforts in the late '60s, although the results aren't all that special. A highlight is "Shadows," which sounds like a super-tough variation on the Association. The CD reissue combines Waleeco with material that the Lost, another Boston band of the time, recorded in 1967 as incidental music for Space Kids, an audio fairy tale.