Weighing in at 19 tracks, Repertoire's 2005 collection Ayla: The Best of Flash and the Pan is the most generous compilation yet assembled of Harry Vanda and George Young's impish post-Easybeats new wave creation, Flash and the Pan. Not only is it four tracks longer than the previous best F&P comp, 1994's plainly titled Collection, but it's more carefully assembled too, boasting good liner notes from Chris Welch and eye-catching comic book artwork. If F&P didn't have any other song as immediate or memorable as "Hey St. Peter," their gloriously ridiculous new wave novelty, they did have a number of good oddities and robotic new wave pop before sinking into coldly slick anthemic pop at the end of the decade. While it's unfortunate that Ayla is sequenced so cuts from the early '80s are undercut by tracks from the late '80s, this nevertheless has the best of what the group recorded, and is presented in the best package Flash and the Pan has yet received. So, for anybody who's heard "Hey St. Peter" and wondered if Flash and the Pan has more songs that sound like it (and, yes, they do), Ayla is where they should turn to.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine