ABC: The Lexicon Of Love (Mercury SRM-1-4509)

POTENT LOVE SONGS

IF YOU took Phil Spector’s lush orchestrations, married them to the sleek, ultra-sophisticated pulse of Quincy Jones’ productions for Michael Jackson, and called in David Bowie to sing lyrics by Cole Porter, you’d come within kissing distance of this, ABC’s first LP. Producer Trevor Horn deserves a share of the applause, but the songs — credited to all four ABC members — are the real deal: apocalyptic, widescreen romances with more hooks than a meat-packing plant. That’s why the group is headline news in its native England, having scored three consecutive hits with ‘Tears Are Not Enough’, ‘Poison Arrow’ and ‘The Look of Love (Part I)’. all of which cry out for versions by any one of a dozen contemporary black vocalists. ABC’s biggest drawback is Martin Fry’s singing, which borders on the effete. I don’t see how they can reproduce this stuff live either, but if they can keep coming up with material this potent, they can just stay home and count their royalty checks.

© Don WallerLos Angeles Times, 24 October 1982

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