We were discussing the Polydor US compilation “Made In Britain” in the recent comments and though I loved that record from day one, it was not for the early appearance of the Comsat Angels. Rather, my ears were immediately pinned to the four cuts by The Invaders, who for me, at least, dramatically overshadowed all other bands on that compilation. Were there other bands on it? I hadn’t noticed. The Invaders were a no-hit wonder with more than enough New Wave pop goods to have gotten the nod from others, but over the years, I have found that my torch is out there, quite alone in the dark. What they had on their album, “Test Card” was a grasp of pop dynamics brushed with the hints of New Wave common to another cult band who meant the world to me, but few others… That would be The Tourists. When I heard the four cuts culled from “Test Card” on “Made In Britain,” I was hooked, but good! It took the better part of a decade, before I finally found an import cutout of the LP in town at a chain store and man, did my eyes pop when i saw the disc finally sitting there, awaiting purchase.
The production, by David Batchelor [and engineering by a young Gary Langan] is immaculate and engaging. I see that Batchelor has had his hands in many a Scot band’s production over the years: The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, The Skids, Fingerprintz. That said, I am not sure if The Invaders are Scottish. Vocalist Sid Sidelynk is an unknown, but he co-wrote half of the excellent songs here with the aid of “backing vocalist” Soo Lucas, better known as Soo Catwoman. The photo of her with the band printed small on the back cover shows her completely shucking her distinct punk look for a polished 1940s glam femme fatale look. Her vocals were highly melodious and on the one cut she sang lead on, “Backstreet Romeo” the effect was comparable to my very favorite Blondie tracks, like “Union City Blue,” though Ms. Lucas did not have the “bite” that Debbie Harry had. “Magic Mirror” is a soaring ballad that exists in a dreamlike state and I could never get enough of it.
So when I finally had the album I’d been chasing for years, it fell until the [fairly recent] internet era that I discovered that The Invaders had a quartet of 7″ singles on Polydor, with only two of them being pulled from their sole album. I need these for bonus tracks on the hopeful, inevitable REVO remaster of the complete works of The Invaders. The first single came out in 1979 and was produced by Jimmy Pursey of Sham 69.
The Invaders: Best Thing I Ever Did UK 7″ 
- The Best Thing I Ever Did
- Much Closer Still
There was another single out that year in advance of their album with Pursey again in the producer’s chair.
The Invaders: Girl’s In Action UK 7″ 
- Girl’s In Action
- No Secrets
1980 brought the “mature” sound of The Invaders with the stellar single “Magic Mirror,” the first taste of the “Test Card” project with a cover photo of Ms. Lucas sporting a mirrorball hat. For having punk icon Soo Catwoman on the cover, prices are known to inflate for this release.
The Invaders: Magic Mirror UK 7″ 
- Magic Mirror
- Shirley You’re Wrong
Finally, a further EP was released, this time of the sumptuous “Backstreet Romeo” as sung by Ms. Lucas.
The Invaders: Backstreet Romeo UK 7″ 
- Backstreet Romeo
- Rock Methodology
- Invasion Of Privacy
I just learned of this last single [it’s not in the Discogs.com database] as I was writing this post! These will probably cost me a bit but given that the band had such a finite career, I owe it to myself to have it all. The album is an amazing production, with all of the songs tightly sequenced and segued together for punch and flow. These singles have another six tracks awaiting me, and who knows if those LP cuts are re-recorded for single or not, as was very common in the UK market of this time.
– 30 –
There are two bands that were on Polydor at the beginning of the 80s that I find it so hard to believe didn’t break out in a big way. One is The Gas – who mixed Clash like punk with a power pop sensibility. The other, obviously, is The Invaders. I never knew they weren’t popular back at the turn of the decade. How could they not be? Their sound would appeal to Punks, New Wavers, late 70’s Power Pop fans, but alas, they were on dysfunctional Polydor, a label that was bounced around like a tennis ball between parent companies causing lots of bands to be lost in the corporate shuffle.
Best Thing I Ever Did is probably my favorite Invaders track with Girls In Action as a close second. I love the synth/electronic undercurrent in that song.
Echorich – Yeah, this album is serious ear candy with well written tunes, great sequencing, etc. Thud. I never heard any of the singles, so I really need to get them… if I ever have two bits to rub together, that is!
Thanks for this entry, as I too carry the torch for the Invaders based on the Made in Britain sampler, though I found my copy of the full album far more quickly than you did, I think (as an import, natch). There were a few bands around at the time that were working that “more mainstream” New Wave angle, and I think the problem was simply that they were ahead of their time by a few years. Nervous Rex, the Photos, and other bands of that nature really followed in Blondie’s wake, I think, but the Invaders weren’t quite of that bent, what with the Tourists-like vibe of having a dominant male as lead singer and songwriter while the better singer languished in the shadows!
I was unaware of the singles and yeah, given the limited output of this band I should grab it all. I hope you get the chance to do the BSOG for them, and maybe you’ll even find another artifact or two along the way …
I managed to see the band twice – minus Ms Lucas – in 1979 and blagged 2 singles from them.
The Best Thing I Ever Did / Much Closer Still.
Girls in Action / No Secrets
To me, their music was perfect pop from that era, melding post punk guitars with the new synths sounds of Tubeway Army and the Human League. With intelligent lyrics and great hooks which were memorable from the first listen. In fact I had all but forgotten the track Rock Methodology until I came across the title above, the sounds and lyrics came flooding back.
Sadly they disappeared from my radar, and I only recently became aware of the Test Card album, which sadly I have yet to track down.
I have found a hand full of tracks uploaded to YouTube including Girls that in Action, The Best Thing, Much Closer, and Magic Mirror.
I do believe I still have my much cherished singles locked away from the sunlight, and they still have their picture sleeves.
Keith – Welcome to the comments! Well, you were a lucky lad. I was aware of the band for a long time before I snagged my copy of “Test Card” and those non-LP singles will take a lot of postage to obtain. Seeing bands like The Invaders in Florida in 1979-80 when they were active was the furthest thing from possible. I was just lucky Polydor US thought to toss The Yanks a bone.
Pingback: Soo Catwoman – Part 2 – punkgirldiaries
Yow! Polly Hancock of The Popinjays has linked to one of my pages! This is a special day, indeed! I have all three Popinjays albums and as many singles as I could bag stuck in Orlando, Florida at the time. Thanks for the tunes, ma’am!
Pingback: 2021: The Year In Buying Music [part 2] | Post-Punk Monk