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ABC, The Lexicon of Love Deluxe Edition

3/5 stars

Released in June 1982, The Lexicon of Love announced ABC as the pinnacle of hi-tech and high concept. Drenched in irony and word-play, it seemed to be playing the same kind of nudge-and-a-wink games as the original Roxy Music or peak-time Bowie.

Looking back now, the big hit singles still scintillate, especially the Look of Love and the splendid All of My Heart, but much of the packaging surrounding them sounds mildly preposterous. Closeted away with producer Trevor Horn, ABC mastermind Martin Fry strove to become Bob Dylan and Oscar Wilde wearing Smokey Robinsons glitter suit, but often ended up hitting the buffers in Lameville (“your reason for living is your reason for leaving, kindest cuts the cruellest part.”).

Most of the extra disc in this new edition is filled with a live performance from November 1982, its pluperfect recorded quality cruelly exposing the teetering layers of artifice underpinning ABCs bizarre Chic-meets-James Last sound. ABCs brilliant moment proved to be built on shifting sands.