Flash and the Pan

Nights in France - Epic 1989

Tracks: 1. Money Don't Lie / 2. Nights in France / 3. Ayla / 4. Yesterday's Gone / 5. Drawn by the Light / 6. Hard Livin' / 7. Saviour Man / 8. Bones


This unique Australian band more or less was an offshot of the successful 1960's band the Easybeats. The talented songwriting team Harry Vanda and George Vanda continued to write material for other artists like John Paul Young after the split up of the Easybeats; but in the late 1970's they formed "Flash and the Pan", mostly as a studio-working band. They had one big hit with "Waiting For a Train" in 1983 and a couple of minor hits prior to that, but today they more or less seem to have been forgotten. This is really a big shame, because they recorded some excellent albums.

"Nights in France" from 1985 was my first album with the band, and I had not owned the album for long, before I knew I had to check out their other albums. This was not an easy task, because apart from "Early Morning Wake Up Call" they were all very hard to find. Note; this was before I was on the internet, and at a time when I still preferred vinyl albums to CD's. Well, back to "Nights in France"!

The opening track "Money Don't Don't Lie" is one og the catchiest rockers they've ever recorded, but still the song bears most of their trademarks, such as intelligent ( often slightly cynical ) lyrics, exellent songwriting and George Young characteristic vocals, sounding like they sung through a megaphone.

The title song is another of the albums many standouts; Beautiful melody and moving lyrics. The grooving riff-based "Ayla" was one of the singles taken from the album; sounds inspired by traditional African music - a song likely to grow on you.

With "Yesterday's Gone" the group is back to the style of early tracks of "Atlantic Calling" or "Down Among the Dead Men" - another favourite!

Apart from the outstanding "Saviour Man" the second half of the album probably doesn't quite live up to the high standards of the first four tracks, but I'll still rank the album as their strongest along with their sensational debut album.

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