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.
AllMusic Review by Mike DeGagne