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Friday, 27 November 2009

Review: Spandau Ballet

The 80s seems to have produced an endless supply of clever and often pleasingly
eccentric pop, much of which has been revisiting us this year, twenty years after
that decade ended. There's a new Moyet Best Of just out for instance. And since
the year began new albums from Simple Minds, Depeche Mode and Echo and the Bunnymen, to simply name three of the major bands of the time - each of which made it equally big in America as at home. Now comes the reunion album from Spandau Ballet after
almost Smiths-size acrimony. SB were not as big as Duran Duran or Tears for Fears
stateside, but bigger than OMD. They were part of the New Romantic wave at its height. Their unlikely name and likely look were of the moment, and song 'True' is one of the, yes, true classics of the period. While the new Frankie compilation is mainly a rehash of the hits, SB have rerecorded their greatest songs for this album. The results are both disarming and sometimes disappointing. 'True' is given new life. 'Chant No. 1' is simply rendered safe and MOR. Simon Cowell is now America's highest paid performer - a far cry from the days when people like Orson Welles ruled radio. His bland if rude style fits with the retooled SB. I am sure some of these tracks could become hits. But while it is fun to hear remakes from older men sometimes it is wiser perhaps to prefer the prison of our early days.
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