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ABC

The Lexicon of Love

Review by Gary Hill

When this album first came out it really captured my heart. I listened to it day in and day out for a long time. Eventually it wore a bit thin on me (in fact, my cassette broke) and fell by the wayside. When I finally bought it on CD I found that despite the ABC overload the CD still holds up really well. This has a funk sort of texture with a definite David Bowie feeling to it. It’s a powerful disc that is full of emotion. There’s not a weak track here. What a debut this was. It should be noted that when I reviewed a compilation by ABC a few years back I did track by track reviews of several of these songs. Those will be used here for the sake of consistency.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Show Me

Strings lead things off here in fine fashion. It builds up in a symphonic texture before kicking into the song proper, a funky romp that’s just plain cool. The rubbery bass line is great. It’s a great way to lead off the disc in fine fashion.

Poison Arrow

This is a strong, funky song with a Bowie-esque texture.

Many Happy Returns

No molds are broken here, but when the status quo is this good, who cares.

Tears Are Not Enough

Featuring a very funky bass line and horn section, this is a considerably addictive and catchy number. "Blueprint that says that boy meets girl, Picture: girl meets boy, Picture in a magazine." This piece also features a wonderful keyboard break an intriguing vocal arrangement.

Valentine's Day

This comes in with a dramatic and powerful symphonically based sound that is nearly progressive rock in nature. It shifts out into something that’s more in line with the funk dance/pop of the rest of the disc, but there’s a little prog texture to the whole track. The string section over the top is certainly one of the reasons for this. Martin Fry’s vocal delivery seems overly angry here. While this is perhaps a more overlooked track it’s also one of the highlights on show.

The Look Of Love (Part 1)

A bit discofied, but again Bowieish, this one is quite potent and features effective backing vocals and string section. The spoken segment is an exceptionally poignant portion of a very emotional number.

Date Stamp

A jangly guitar part leads us off here and then they launch out into another killer funk jam. The vocal interplay on this one is nice and so are the lyrics. Again, it’s perhaps an overlooked piece, but it’s also quite strong.

All Of My Heart

"Once upon a time when we were friends, I gave you my heart, the story ends, No happy ever after, now we're friends." That verse serves to set up this song which asks, "What's it like to have loved, and to lose her touch." The lyrics really steal the show on this cut, being very well written and universal. "Well I hope and I pray that maybe someday, you'll walk in the room with my heart." This ballad with lush string arrangement features wonderful writing and arranging, and is full of lyrical magic.

4 Ever 2 Gether

Undying and unending love as a mathematical equation, I like this track a lot. Much of it is in the same fashion as a lot of the other disc, but there’s this killer drop back to a processed vocal section followed by a buildup that somehow reminds me of Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight.”  I really like the “Speak no evil” part and particularly the way they deliver each word differently.

The Look Of Love (Part 4)

This is a short symphonic treatment of the theme of “The Look of Love.”

Theme From "Mantrap"

There was a cool short film of “Mantrap” released about the time this CD came out. This comes from the film and is a café type treatment of “Poison Arrow.” It gets quite involved at times. It’s a great tune and quite a classy touch.

 
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