After the exhausting, emotionally ravaged 'Sleep No More', one would have thought the sensible option would be for The Comsat Angels to take a break. The band clearly thought otherwise and the third album 'Fiction' followed just a year later. Understandably though, it's a little less intense; falling halfway between its predecessor's darkness and the debut's more commercially viable brand of post-punk.
'Fiction' begins beautifully with 'After The Rain'; a wonderful slice of bleak pop and a definitive soundtrack to staring out of the window on a wet spring day whilst the mid-paced but incredibly tense 'Now I Know' is another showcase for Mik Glaisher's percussion skills. It's worth remembering that in 1982 the New Romantics were all the rage but The Comsats largely remained known as a "guitar band"; an opinion backed up by the aggressive double salvo of 'Don't Look Now' and 'Birdman'. The signs of change, however, were already apparent as 'More' edges towards synth pop but with enough class to make it one of the best tracks on the album. It's also somewhat fitting, given The Comsats' gift of restrained tension, that their subtlest song is also the best here; 'Pictures' remains one of their greatest moments thanks to its glistening guitar figure, haunting vocal, eerie keyboards, shuffling drums and poignant melody. Overall, 'Fiction' is sometimes viewed as the weakest of their early recordings and - in fairness - it does seem to be oddly sequenced but it's hard to think of any other band from that period putting together three albums of such quality and distinction.