search for something...

search for something you might like...

Many Happy Returns ABC revisit their audacious pop masterpiece.

Many Happy Returns

ABC revisit their audacious pop masterpiece.

by Jay Lewis, Reviews Editor
first published: May, 2023

approximate reading time: minutes

Defiantly romantic, bold but never bombastic production, drama and disco...

The Lexicon of Love Live

I will save my lengthy and in-depth analysis of why ABC's 'The Lexicon of Love ' is one of the most significant albums of the1980s for when the much-anticipated reissue finally arrives. In the meantime, this respectful recreation of the 40th-anniversary show at Sheffield City Hall (the band's home city), from last year will just have to do. 

'The Lexicon of Love' was that most audacious record. A 'Fairlight Sinatra' (according to main vocalist, songwriter, and only remaining original member - Martin Fry), that was defiantly romantic, a bold but never bombastic production, drama and disco, literate but never showy lyrics. It still stands as an enduring example of what the 'new pop' song craftsmanship could sound like.  

Sure, ABC is now just Fry and, with conductor Anne Dudley (who orchestrated the original album) and the Southport Sinfonia - they made a very fine job of recreating what the band and Trevor Horn and co. had created.  Of course, nothing will eclipse the original recording, but really, how do you improve on something like that?  What's apparent early on is that the post 'Lexicon' songs on the first disc, the ones that didn't have the new string arrangements to start with ('One Better World' and 'How to be a Millionaire' stand out), are the ones that really shine. It's not that an orchestra has been crudely slapped on - it's all done with meticulous care - I would expect nothing less.  

'The Lexicon of Love Live' is more than a souvenir of a special show. It is not about nostalgia. It is a celebration of daring pop music at its best. The band's original record label (Neutron) had a strapline that boasted that they were 'Purveyors of Fine Product' and that, I'm delighted to report is what Martin Fry still is. Mighty fine indeed. 

The Lexicon of Love Live is out now and is available here

Jay Lewis
Reviews Editor

Jay Lewis is a Birmingham based poet. He's also a music, movie and arts obsessive. Jay's encyclopedic knowledge of 80s/90s Arts films is a debt to his embedded status in the Triangle Arts Centre trenches back then.

about Jay Lewis »»



All About and Contributors


Outsideleft exists on a precarious no budget budget. We are interested in hearing from deep and deeper pocket types willing to underwrite our cultural vulture activity. We're not so interested in plastering your product all over our stories, but something more subtle and dignified for all parties concerned. Contact us and let's talk. [HELP OUTSIDELEFT]


If Outsideleft had arms they would always be wide open and welcoming to new writers and new ideas. If you've got something to say, something a small dank corner of the world needs to know about, a poem to publish, a book review, a short story, if you love music or the arts or anything else, write something about it and send it along. Of course we don't have anything as conformist as a budget here. But we'd love to see what you can do. Write for Outsideleft, do. [SUBMISSIONS FORM HERE]


Ooh Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha May 29th

outsideleft content is not for everyone