Lene Lovich’s second album Flex was released by Stiff in 1979, the successor to Stateless. It was produced by Lene and her partner Les Chappell, and additional production was again provided by Roger Bechirian and Alan Winstanley. An enthralling set of songs, it opened chillingly with the shrill warbling and baritone undercurrent of Bird Song and included a surprise interpretation of The Four Seasons’ The Night, issued by Stiff as a single in the US. The cover featured Lene crawling on the floor of a steel cylinder in a dress and veil that recalled Miss Haversham and holding two yo-yo-like discs. The suggestion to use the Guinness Factory in London’s Park Royal for the photo shoot was an inspired one, and pictures from it were also used for the sleeves of the single releases of Bird Song and Angels.
“Brian Griffin, the photographer, had recently done some work at the Guinness Factory in London, and I think he got permission to film there because he was going to do our album cover,” sais Lene. “We actually shot it in one of the fermentation tanks, which is why we’ve got this big propeller, totally stainless steel. We were inside the tank and it was massive. It was really funny because you couldn’t speak to each other because as soon as you uttered a word, the voice just went into a weird echo thing, so you had to get right up next to each other and whisper in your ear. Actually, Brian and I never spoke much. It was just the most amazing photographic experience.”
Flex charted and reached number 19, but its stay of just five weeks was a disappointment after the success of Stateless, which had managed three months. The singles from it also failed to make the impact of Lucky Number and Say When, with Bird Song, just scraping inside the Top 40, and Angels and the four-track EP What Will I Do Without You? making even less impact. The momentum had been lost.