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BUGGLES (Buy CDs by this artist)
The Age of Plastic (Island) 1980
Adventures in Modern Recording (UK Carrere) 1982
BRUCE WOOLLEY AND THE CAMERA CLUB
Bruce Woolley and the Camera Club (Columbia) 1979
English Garden (UK CBS) 1979
FIRMAMENT AND THE ELEMENTS
The Essential EP (Press) 1983

After "Video Killed the Radio Star" changed the course of electro-pop forever, it was straight downhill for the Buggles as a group. The two members, however, proved a lot more durable on their own: Geoffrey Downes went on to grand success with Yes and Asia; Trevor Horn became a hit record producer (for ABC and Malcolm McLaren) before founding ZTT Records and foisting Frankie Goes to Hollywood on an unsuspecting world.

While The Age of Plastic was a disappointment to fans of the Buggles' cogent 45s, Adventures amounts to little more than a self-explanatory post-mortem. Both albums are technically stunning, reasonably catchy and crashingly hollow.

Early Buggles associate Bruce Woolley co-wrote several of the band's songs, including "Video Killed the Radio Star" and "Clean Clean." Woolley's own versions of both tunes — predating the Buggles' "Radio Star" hit (which scraped the US Top 40 in December '79) — are contained on English Garden (retitled for American release), an LP of light power pop reminiscent of certain sides of the Move. As a would-be radio star, Woolley was doomed in the '70s by his devotion to the '60s, and the record vanished in the techno-pop flood. The Camera Club, however, can claim fame of a sort for Thomas Dolby's pre-fame membership.

In the '80s, Woolley abandoned the past and discovered the future. Along with his brother Guy, he formed a semi-experimental oddity, Firmament and the Elements. The intriguing EP contains nice tunes as well as bizarre effects.

[Ira Robbins]
   See also Art of Noise, Frankie Goes to Hollywood