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The Fine Art Of Surfacing

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Album Review

Chock-full of new wave charisma and tamed by Bob Geldof's upfront wit, The Fine Art of Surfacing is novel in both its lyrical flair and modern pounce. Made famous by the colorful history of "I Don't Like Mondays," a true story about a 16-year-old girl who shot 11 people without showing any remorse, The Fine Art of Surfacing switches gears from this song's well-crafted harshness to the hectic pace of tracks such as "Nice N' Neat" and "Sleep," among others. "Diamond Smiles" jaunts along on a hiccup-like rhythm, while "Keep It Up" is downright frantic. "Someone's Looking at You" basks in a certain type of smug paranoia, and songs like "Having My Picture Taken" and "Nothing Happened Today" are beautifully lit up by Geldof's wide-eyed dramatics and explicit vocal swings. Sharing the same sort of stylishness as A Tonic for the Troops, The Fine Art of Surfacing bursts with florid pop genius, which in turn kept the Boomtown Rats from sounding like other new wave bands that existed at the time.

Customer Reviews

Listen and Learn

Those of you who think Bob Geldof is that old guy who tries to save the world really need to listen to his music. Energetic, with a blend of rock and punk, Geldof was one of the intellectuals of his era. If you like Franz Ferdinand - listen to where they learned it !!!

I Agree with Him

Bhoy has it right. This is one of the best albums of the entire 80's decade, a splendid punk/new wave/rock meld and still sounds fresh in the 00's. I too get a bit annoyed at those who only know BG for his campaigning. He's a passionate man and that comes through all the more in the music. Listen to his solo work too, the "Great Song of Indifference" for example - it's almost Pogue-ish! My advice, don't read any more, just buy this.


The Boomtown Rats were an overlooked band when they were in their pomp, and this album is a total gem, in my opinion by far their best. The album is full of first class songs with thoughtful and well constructed lyrics, but is also full of the most refreshing humour and chippy irony. In one or two places things spill over into musical jokes (which I hate in any form, you may not) but excepting this there isn't a weak song. I don't know the extras (tracks 12 to 15) too well, but the rest is compulsory in my opinion.


Formed: 1975 in Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin, Ire

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s

The Boomtown Rats were an Irish rock band that scored a series of British hits between 1977 and 1980, and were led by singer Bob Geldof, who organized the Ethiopian relief efforts Band Aid and Live Aid. The Rats were formed in Dun Laoghaire, near Dublin, Ireland, in 1975 by Geldof (born Robert Frederick Zenon Geldof, October 5, 1954, Dun Laoghaire, Ireland), a former journalist; Johnnie Fingers (keyboards); Gerry Cott (guitar); Garry Roberts (guitar); Pete Briquette (bass); and Simon Crowe (drums)....
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