Review of Landscape A Go-Go, by Annie Zaleski
Classic Pop July 2023
Review Casual music fans will associate Landscape with two 1981 hits: the pogoing Einstein A Go-Go and Numan-esque Norman Bates. However, this 5CD set underscores how the London quintet fronted by Spandau Ballet/Kim Wilde producer Richard James Burgess are much more serious than those early singles let on.
Bolstered by 22 previously. unissued tracks, this compilation traces their history via expanded versions of the band's first three albums, plus two more discs crammed full of self-released EPs, single edits, extended versions, remixes and B-sides.
Landscape initially favoured keyboard-driven instrumental jazz-funk, an approach that's illuminated by a red-hot selection of little-heard live tracks recorded in the late 70s. These end up as this collection's highlights, with the ominous, avant-garde Watt Is Knott and funky, discofied Kaptin Whorlix especially connecting.
But even when the band embraced more conventional forms, such as synth-pop, their innate drive to challenge themselves never waned. Listened to straight through, the collection can feel a little overwhelming. But absorbed in small doses, this is a dynamite way to rediscover a band that has a rich catalogue to explore.