Produced by Martin Fry and Gary Stevenson
Label – Virgin EMI
As ABC’s Martin Fry returns to the moment that shaped his career, one could argue that the 34 year gap would have dampened his romantic pop manifesto of both presentation and content. Not so, and as the original four piece has now whittled down to just the Sheffield singer, he seems as much in love with a love song as ever before. The much heralded return to the flagship pop album of 1982 sees a 2016 reflection that retains many of the musical elements, the luxurious orchestrations of carefully arranged strings and brass that unashamedly shows a dreamy, nostalgic view that attempts to be a logical extension of its predecessor. A welcome return by Anne Dudley adds the musical finesse to Fry’s vocal, invigorating many to the “classic” pop status they aspire to. It may not be the epic landmark statement its older sibling achieved, however, it is broadly a successful update. Lyrically, Fry is never fearful of delivering a mouthful of schmaltz (gleefully ridiculed by the music hacks), but that was never the reason people liked his records. 1982s “The Lexicon Of Love” gave us the musical equivalent of a trip St. Tropez when all we’d experienced before it was Benidorm. Never had a broken heart felt so decadently earned. “Flames Of Desire” is as strong an opener as “Show Me” from the debut record and “Viva Love” is as panoramically robust as “Poison Arrow” or “The Look Of Love”.
“The Lexicon Of Love II” may not be 2016s most original gesture, but as revivals go, there’s few that can match its musical depth and clarity. A fine return.
1 – The Flames Of Love (9)
2 – Viva Love (8)
3 – Ten Below Zero (8)
4 – Confessions Of A Fool (7)
5 – Singer Not The Songs (7)
6 – The Ship Of The Seasick Sailor (6)
7 – Kiss Me Goodbye (8)
8 – I Believe In Love (7)
9 – The Love Inside The Love (7)
10 – Brighter Than The Sun (7)
11 – Viva Love Reprise (na)