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Thursday, June 20, 2013

ABC - "The Lexicon of Love"

ABC – The Lexicon of Love
Vinyl LP Album, 1982

ABC wouldn't exist without Roxy Music, but with even that Martin Fry and company has brought a certain amount of glamour angst to the pop world circa 1982. And it is not only the music but the visuals as well. The Lexicon of Love is an over-the-top concept, that includes the music (of course) but also the graphics of the album cover and 12” & 7” sleeves as well as the videos – and their one hour film by Julian Temple that sort of puts the whole theme in one package. The film “Mantrap” is not great, but the individual videos are still of great charm and intelligence.

Trevor Horn, the producer and his team, brought the songs aurally into the scale of a full-color 1950's cinemascope film. This album and the first album by Frankie Goes To Hollywood, is Horn's masterpiece of production and conception. But one can't underestimate Fry's lyrics/conceptual skills and the sophisticated funk/pop of the band. Also beyond the visuals, one is struck by Fry's face which is acne-scarred, yet beautiful in the context of the ABC world. In other words it adds a certain amount of soul into the illusion of their world.

I remember seeing ABC at the height of the hype for The Lexicon of Love at the Hollywood Palladium with a full orchestra. It was a great spectacle, and ABC is very much about spectacle.