Foreign Land was released in 1985, and seemed tailor-made to sell by the truck-load. It didn’t, but still stands as a strong example of pop-as-we-knew-it mid-way through the eighties. It’s a joyous, moving work which manages somehow to wring emotion from synths and warmth from drum machines.
The opener Falling In Love Again stands proud alongside the Madonna classics of the era, the keyboards pittering and pattering away while Bev dusts down her Dietrich impressions. The Betsy Cook & Jim Rafferty number Spirit Of The Thing, also lifted as a single, is another Techno pure pop jewel, all electronic sitar and a fine vocal offering from the inimitable Fairnie in the second verse.
Hi-NRG is aimed for and achieved with the tight rhythms, wild vocal improvisations and Chic guitar of Visions Of The Night, which is lightyears away from the delicate arrangement of the previous track Crying In The Rain, dedicated to daughter Famie born a year earlier.
The title track, recorded two years prior to the album following through, somehow never quite broke through into the charts in the way it deserved… apart from on the specialist gay charts in the US, a far-cry from the Old Testament theme of the lyrics. With a killer chorus and Bev’s OTT lead underpinned by a sparse pop set-up, perhaps it was just too good for mass-consumption. That’s what we’ll say anyway. Side 2 just gets better and better, with Lunatic Republic (previously aired on the Casual Tease album) and Clowns On The Ground both showing just how much Fairnie and Sage had matured as songwriters. Lunatic Republic is perfectly constructed, conjuring up images of being observed from afar, while Clowns On The Ground is a joyful reminder that paradise is full of clowns that Earth no longer needs!…
As an album of potential stand-alone singles, Foreign Land works remarkably well, and is testament to the ease with which The Technos could take listeners to heaven and back within three minutes.
Produced by Phil Harding (Falling, Spirit, Prisoner, Nightime, Clowns), Ann Dudley (Crying, Visions, Lunatic, Slowboats), Joe Glassman (Foreign)
Credited to The Technos with Musical Accompaniment
Management: Camp Creative London
Photos: T. Toms
Art: S. Fairnie