Thursday, 1 October 2009

Never as good as the first time part 2 - ABC

Unlike the Stone Roses, this one isn't that fair as Lexicon of Love is my favourite lp and as close to pop perfection as you can get. If i were going to be picky the early single "Tears are not Enough" doesn't quite fit, but hey it's a minor flaw. Released in 1982 and putting the glamour back into pop among all the new romantic bands that were taking themselves a bit too seriously. The singles Poison Arrow and Look of Love have become the staple of 80s compilations, but it is the lp as a whole that really shines. Produced by Trevor Horn, the strings dominate (Anne Dudley who did the orchestration went on to the Art of Noise and session work with too many to mention) and he starts the "everything and the kitchen sink" approach of production that reached its peak with Frankie Goes to Hollywood.
Martin Fry's lyrics more than match the production with endless inventive wordplay (its a shame he'd come such a cropper on the next lp with "Can't complain mustn't grumble , help yourself to another piece of apple crumble"), as does his voice which is strong enough to cope with what trevor horn threw at it in terms of backing.
The whole concept is another fall out of love lp, a reaction to Martin Fry being left by this then girlfriend. Trevor Horn even arranged for the ex girlfriend to come in and record the "goodbye" bit in "look of Love". I bet the atmosphere in the recording studio that day was interesting.
All the singles were hits and the lp still features in those 100 greatest lp magazine articles.
I've posted 2 of the lesser known tracks. "Show me" is the lp opener and sums up what is to come. Sweeping strings lead into punchy brass before the tempo steps up with the bass, drums and everything else that was thrown in. "Date Stamp" has love broken down to a commercial transaction with this time chiming guitars turning into tills ringing before the bass kick starts the song
"Love has no guarantee,promise of eternity, no chance of certainty, even with a pedigree love has no guarantee"
ABC went on to do other great things but as a whole how do you top perfection?
You can buy Lexicon of Love here

1 comment:

  1. "ABC went on to do other great things but as a whole how do you top perfection?"

    Answer - you don't!

    Great stuff


Leave a comment and let me know what you are listening to.