Library Rock's Backpages

ABC: Beauty Stab (Mercury)

James Hunter, The Boston Phoenix, 10 January 1984

THERE HAS NEVER been a record quite like ABC's slick 1982 debut The Lexicon of Love. Of course, you'd heard a jaded singer as enslaved by his white-tie romanticism as Martin Fry because you'd heard Bryan Ferry in the same condition for years. And you'd heard fleet white funk drape itself in a chilly remove of sound because you'd heard Bowie's Station to Station. You'd even heard extravagant hom-and-string arrangements that never overwhelmed songs because they were so brilliantly deployed and sumptuously toned, and because they were as energetic as the fiercest guitar attack. But what you hadn't heard was all this happening at the same time, and with such a militantly retro attitude. Although that kind of flimsy base rarely supports substantial pop. Lexicon was crafted into such a wild, mad rush that you escaped to a fashion fantasy island you'd never imagined before.

Total word count of piece: 880


Becoming a member is easy. Membership gives you access to all the thousands of articles in the library.

Click here to go to Subscribe page.

Click here for academic and other group subscriptions.