Saturday, 17 July 2010

Second Time Around - Part 3 of 4 - Spandau Ballet

This one is probably not as controversial as the Teardrop's post as probably a lot of people can't stand either of Spandau Ballet's first or second lp.

I really like this second lp even though it has a lot that just shouts "take the piss". The production was a bit woolly, Tony Hadley was at the peak of his "foghorn" phase and side 2 featured a track which sounded like a Japan reject mixed with the sound of a tap left on.

But in a town of skinheads and mods as well as the odd punk that time forgot, it is easy to forget how different they looked and sounded at the time. Side one is the standard clubby sound but it is with side 2 that things get a bit weird and that is why I love the lp. Long meandering songs "Pharaoh" and "Missionary", "Rio" it certainly wasn't

The record company and band desperate for a hit sent "Instinction" to Trevor Horn to remix to a bright and shiny pop gem and from then on it was the speedy decline to suits and a sound with all the edges planed off to the point of nothingness. Listen to "True" and then "Diamond" and what strikes you is just how rough this lp sounds.. and is it so much better for it

I've posted something from the recent double cd re release, it is one of the extended mixes of "Chant Number 1"

It is hard to believe just how exotic "you go down down past talk of town, down greek street then underground" sounded to someone who lived in a world when the major annual event was a town tulip parade


  1. As a past clubber of said club mentioned in Chant No 1 ' le beat route '
    the song has a lot of memories in its on way . I remember seeing Martin and Gary Kemp there and i was struck at how tall they were , well over 6 ft .

    Anyway the 2nd side is pretty funny , at the time i thought oh they are going a bit japan / brian eno ish ... oh dear .

    But Chant No 1 is still a good song , I like the rougher sound , funny it worked really well for ABC but not so well for Spandau Ballet

  2. Hi Jay
    I thikn the difference is that I aleays felt Marting Fry had is tongue somewhere in his cheek.
    Is the b side you meant "Gently? - I quite liked that one

  3. thats the track ! , yes martin fry I think was the the better songwriter .

    I still can listen to an awful lot of ABC , I think with Spandau Ballet it was more the club scene rather than the music which I was into at the time .

  4. in spalding , the club scene meant a shed at the back of the pub with a bar and a dj , known as wagon wheels!

  5. I was wondering if part three would be ABC's Beauty Stab, but SB's Diamond is a much better choice. You are right that this was the end of everything edgy and uncompromised for Spandau. But Diamond is a great record and fits in well with the other 'New Romantic' releases. It has the club cred and the OTT poetic and fashion conscious elements that were important to that scene.

  6. Hi Echorich

    I do think Beauty Stab is a bit of a lost classic , but Lexicon is still in my top 5 favourites. As the 4 I picked I like better than the respective debuts so it didnt make the cut ... but there is apost in ther somewhere ..somethign about "worth a revisit"?


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