Thursday, February 12, 2009

abc - lexicon of love

On the subject of Sheffield bands, ABC are another ubiquitous 80s band but once which I feel were right to be lauded, particularly for their 1982 album Lexicon of Love (I am working on the theory that 1982 was one of the best years for music in the world ever).  It's totally a concept album - Martin Fry gets dumped and writes a whole album's worth of material about it, poor man must have suffered- however it is a concept that works brilliantly.  It's got some of the symbols that stand for some of worst excesses of 80s music to boot like saxophones, orchestras, irony and that kind of histrionic texture that can swathe the music in syrupy gloop if its not carefully applied by someone like Trevor Horn.  Yet this is when pop was at its finest and this is one of pops finest attempts at capturing the headiness of a time when the UK was crawling out of the despair of the late 70s and men could wear make-up and have bouffant hair and sing in gold lame suits on Top of the Pops and nobody would bat an eyelid (although it was supposed to be the dark ages then in comparison to our supposedly more tolerant present).  Songs like Poison Arrow are stupidly catchy at the same time as being gently nasty - 'who broke my heart, you did' cannot be more direct and seething - and anyone who is not a sobbing wreck by the end of All of my Heart blatantly has not got one.  Even the less well known songs like Tears are not enough and Valentine's Day keep pace, Date stamp beginning with the sound of cash machines and exposing the business of love for the fraud it is (ironically it is almost a dead cert that some of these songs will be doing the rounds on those cheesy Valentine's Day compilations).  I also love the trivia that the girl who inspired this album was invited in for a cameo - she is the girl saying 'goodbye' on The Look of Love, part one.

 Here is a glimpse of the famous gold suit.

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