Tag Archives: New Wave

Rocks In The Attic #567: ABC – ‘The Lexicon Of Love’ (1982)

rita567I often wonder what would have happened had I been born a full ten years earlier. That would push 1978 back to 1968, and would mean reaching my teenage years around 1981. Punk was dying by that time, and New Wave was quickly morphing into what we now refer collectively as ‘80s music.

Would I have been a fan of ABC? It’s hard to say. The one aspect of ‘80s music that always puts me off is the fashion. I think this stems from looking at the sleeves of my brother’s Adam & The Ants records. I always thought Adam Ant himself straddled the line between looking like a cool motherfucker and looking like an idiot, but I always though the rest of the band looked ridiculous in their camp eyeliner and dandy highwayman clothes.

ABC are a little less offensive to the eyes, and obviously put the music first. Image is obviously still very important to them though – just check out that wonderfully composed record cover. Trevor Horn’s bold production really brings the band to life, and isn’t quite as overbearing as his work a few years later on records like Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s Welcome To The Pleasuredome. They also wear their Bowie influences on their sleeves, and I really love that; it’s one of the saving graces of a lot of pop music from the early ‘80s.

Hit: Poison Arrow

Hidden Gem: Show Me

Rocks In The Attic #39: The Human League – ‘Dare’ (1981)

Rocks In The Attic #39: The Human League - ‘Dare’ (1981)Looking back, I’m glad I was born when I was. If I’d been born ten years earlier, maybe I would have been a fan of English New Wave. Thankfully I was spared the peer pressure of having to go to discotheques wearing eyeliner, by getting into music a decade later when grunge hit.

This album starts off well on The Things That Dreams Are Made Of – sounding like a commercial version of Kraftwerk – but after that initial track, it does start to sound very dated. Some of the instrumentation, played on early synthesisers, sounds very close to the type of music that would accompany early 8-bit computer games.

Phil Oakey has a killer voice though – he’s obviously influenced by Bowie and that clear, dramatic style of singing, so I wonder what he would have sounded like if he had grown up in a different period and ended up singing in a band in a different genre. I can’t really imagine him singing in a punk band, but he would have shone in any genre that showcases clear diction. And eyeliner.

Hit: Don’t You Want Me

Hidden Gem: The Things That Dreams Are Made Of