Saturday 13 May 2023

Alpha Bravo Charlie

I love ABC; I won't hear a bad word said against them. Martin Fry, their gold lame suited frontman, has always been able to pluck just the right word, find just the right turn of phrase from his musical lexicon to give a song, any song, the gravitas needed to pull it out of a sea of lyrical mediocrity and turn it into a guaranteed floor filler. Tears Are Not Enough from 1981 gave notice that the prevailing pop landscape of the day was about to change. The band's (i.e. Fry's) debut album released the following year spawned several monster singles; each in turn given Fry's lyrical finessing and augmented by the lush production values of Trevor Horn (whose knob twiddling on Lexicon of Love ensured he'd never be out of work again); for several years afterwards if you ever went into a Hi-Fi shop to purchase 'a system' then Lexicon was the album they played to put any turntable/amp/speakers combo thru its paces. That or Thriller.

During the following 35 years after its release Fry had just about done that sound to death. Whilst all his follow up albums tried so hard to reach the dizzy heights of that first collection (some might say opus), he never scaled the mountain again. Though in 2016 Fry did what anyone other fading Smash Hits cover star would do when he was given the chance of recording with Anne Dudley (she of Art of Noise and a brilliant orchestral arranger to boot) - he wrote a dozen songs in the style of LoL and marketed it as a follow up. Thus Lexicon of Love II was born.

Of course it could never fill its big brother's shoes. How could it? But (on a couple of occasions) it came pretty close. Here's one of them...

ABC - Brighter Than the Sun (2016)


  1. Lexicon of Love is one of the greatest albums ever. FACT as Edwyn Collins would say.

    1. You're preaching to the choir, CC. I totally agree. I'd be fascinated to know what you think of LoL2; maybe we can set aside 10 minutes in York to give Fry a celebratory pat on the back? Or ask him what the hell he was thinking? Either way, I'm sure we'll be raising a glass to one of Sheffield's finest.

    2. Not sure that I have heard LoL2 in its entirety