Monthly Archives: May 2016

ABC- The Lexicon of Love II

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Since ABC first burst on the music scene in 1982 with their classic album “The Lexicon of Love”, they have remained one of pops most fascinating groups constantly reinventing themselves with each album.  Instead of playing safe after the success of their first album, ABC continued to change their musical template and to challenge their listener.  Following up the successful debut album with the a more guitar based sound difficult second album “Beauty Stab”, ABC failed to capture the public in the same way.  Instead of been intimidated by this response ABC continued to evolve and change from the club sound of “How to be a Zillionaire” to the soul groove of “Alphabet City” , ABC were always a band in a state of flux constant in their reinvention of their sound and image.

Recent years have seen ABC consist of only lead vocalist Martin Fry after the final member of the classic line up, Mark White having left in 1992. This version of ABC have spent recent years playing 80’s revival festivals like “Rewind” in the UK and touring “The Lexicon of Love”.  Some were suspicious when in late 2015; Martin Fry announced he intended to record a sequel to their classic debut album.  Many became even more apprehensive when it was announced that Trevor Horn would have no involvement in the project.  Many credited the lush production of Horn to be one of the main reasons for the huge success of the first “Lexicon of Love” album.

On the 27th of May “The Lexicon of Love II” was released on the world and I must admit I was slightly apprehensive about the album myself.  However my concerns were totally unfounded.   “The Lexicon of Love II” is not only a worthy successor to its classic predecessor but I would go as far and likely commit pop heresy in the eyes of many  by  saying it’s actually a better album.   Anne Dudley does a magnificent job of filling Trevor Horn’s shoes with her sublimely beautiful arrangements and I think there is actually a much stronger collection of songs on this album than on any previous ABC album including the first “Lexicon of Love” album.

Particular highlights for me are “Kiss Me Goodbye”, “Ten below Zero” and “The Ship of the Seasick Sailor” but all the songs on the album are excellent.   This is a constantly good album that should be played from start to finish without skipping tracks.  In the age of streaming and downloading a selection of the album which I believe undermines the value of an album as complete work of art. “The Lexicon of Love II” presents the listener with a celebration of the revival of the album as complete work that should be listened to in its eternity.

I doubt “The Lexicon of Love II” will make many new converts but for fans of the original album or people who just enjoy good music, I would suggest you would not go wrong investing some time and money in this outstanding new album.  Viva The Lexicon of Love II.

Malcolm.

Al Shields – Mountains – EP Launch

Al Shields – Mountains EP Launch

Al Shields is no stranger to the Edinburgh music circuit having lived here for more than ten years establishing a name for himself with his Americana style.

Al Shields - Mountains

Al Shields – Mountains

He chose Sneaky Pete’s, Cowgate for the launch of his latest release Mountains on the 19th of April, performing a list of some covers, old music and his latest EP.  He was joined on the night by fellow performers John. D McIntosh and Lewis Rumney who warmed the crowd up. The night kicked off sharp due to the noise curfew with Lewis the first to take the mic. Cat was running late so sadly we only managed a phone picture but we enjoyed his performance.

Lewis Rumney - Photo by Joe

Lewis Rumney – Photo by Joe

John D McIntosh - Photo by Cat

John D McIntosh – Photo by Cat

John. D McIntosh followed with a upbeat set which included a cover of Bruce Springsteen’sTougher Than The Rest” which went down well with the crowd. Check out his song Bandcamp for more information.

Al Shields - Photo by Cat

Al Shields – Photo by Cat

After a short break, Al Shields took to the stage opening up with “Got It So Bad” taken from his first album “Slow Burner“. Als’ voice is pretty distinctive which wouldn’t be out of place in Tennessee. He held the audience as he waved through a jam packed list, making use of every valuable second, at one stage putting on a harmonica headpiece.

Al Shields & Kat Healy - Photo by Cat

Al Shields & Kat Healy – Photo by Cat

He was joined onstage by fellow musicians at various times accompanying him with vocals. Kat Healy joined in on Ryan Adams song “Oh my sweet Carolina” and Julia Hoare in “Mutineer“, a Warren Zevon cover. Matt Norris came in and joined them for “Bluebird” along with playing various instruments including the mandolin and banjo for different numbers with Al.

Al Shields, Matt Norris & Julia Hoare - Photo by Cat

Al Shields, Matt Norris & Julia Hoare – Photo by Cat

He produced a set which demonstrated to all attending of his ability as a performer and songwriter along with having some fun with more well known songs from established artists.  Originally from the Isle of Bute, Al was charismatic and witty between songs although we have different feelings towards the ukulele,”it is a real instrument Al“! “Johanna, Kick your feet up” and “Bluebird” were personal favourites all from the new EP “Mountains“. Al got a well earned rapturous applause at the end of the show which went far too quickly for me.

For information about Al Shields, upcoming tour dates, music releases, store & social media links, visit alshields.com

Stephen.