If “The Land Of Make Believe” is – as lyricist Pete Sinfield later claimed – a song about Thatcherism, then he has to be congratulated on one of pop’s more thorough veiling jobs. Thing is, the song doesn’t need added significance to be a striking and successful lyric: “Something / Nasty in your garden’s / Waiting / Patiently till it can have your heart” – strong stuff, especially sung in Bucks Fizz’s blandly chipper tones.
Of course not many people listen closely to the lyrics, and why should they? “Land Of Make Believe” works just fine as a romp, something for panto season. If all you remember is the dayglo chorus and the cumbersome beat, then you’ll still have had a good time. It’s more than just the words, though, that hint at something a little darker. A few years later Bucks Fizz re-recorded “Land” with cleaner, sparklier, cheaper production, and it just didn’t work: there’s an oddly foggy thickness to the sound on this song which makes it slightly hard for your ears to focus but works in the record’s favour. And then there are the drums – sudden jagged clipped beats which cut alarmingly through the sonic murk, not disrupting the song exactly – but when you’re listening for them, they start to dominate it.
“The Land Of Make Believe” is Bucks Fizz’s best song, but it’s far from perfect – the verses outshine the chorus, the inserted character names are awkward, the kid at the end is a spooky-ooky touch too far, and Bucks Fizz themselves do a professional job but can’t be said to add much. For all its occasional clumsiness, though, the record is a success, conjuring resonance and even a little mystery out of not a great deal.