Spandau Ballet + Trevor Horn = Tease

Gary Kemp in Sarm studios playing guitar… for three tracks only

Just a few days ago, the Spandau Balletosphere was abuzz with visions of a new album as produced by Trevor Horn. This would be album number seven, their attempt to balance the books of history in their favor after their divisive CBS period squandered away all of the goodwill of their Chrysalis era. The “Once More” album of nearly five years ago was a footnote; acoustic re-records of past hits with two new songs added as a sop to fans. This would be different. This would be a burnishing of their legacy with an iconic producer at the helm. Or so we thought. Unfortunately, word came this morning directly from Spandau Central that the resulting album will be yet another compilation*, entitled “The Story – The Very Best Of Spandau Ballet” that will be graced with just three new tracks recorded at the Sarm sessions happening right now, more or less. Can you smell the hype? I think I can.

* …#22 if you’re counting…

The band seem to be much more behind promoting their “Soulboys Of The Western World” biopic, which is getting ready to hit the cinemas across the UK this fall. To that end, the band have cooked up a swanky [how could it be otherwise] send-off for the movie with the European premiere showing of the film [its world premiere was at SxSW this Spring] on September 30th at Royal Albert Hall, followed by a Q&A featuring the band and director George Hencken, with a Spandau concert wrapping the evening up. Tickets go on sale tomorrow here. If you’re of a disposition to attend, I’m sure it will be interesting.

It’s irritating to give these legacy bands the benefit of the doubt, only to have them fritter away what goodwill they have left with this listener. Spandau reformed in 2009. In that same time frame [more or less] so did OMD, who have managed to mount several world tours [including three tours in America!]. They recorded two full albums that yes, did much to correct the awkward middle/late period of the band’s legacy. They even issued what amounts to another album’s worth of B-side material, that was generally excellent!

What did Spandau do in this time? They mounted a single UK tour, recorded a quickie acoustic album, and have recorded a grand total of five new songs before grinding out yet another compilation album; and that doesn’t even count the inevitable soundtrack album for “Soulboys Of The Western World” which the band assures us is in the queue in addition to the aforementioned compilation with the three new tracks! I’m sensing that the band don’t quite have the eye of the tiger, as it were. Meanwhile, their Blitz comrades Visage have recorded one of their best albums ever and Steve Strange is playing his first live gigs ever and I’m astounded by the caliber of the work that band is doing. I’m disappointed in what I can only see as Spandau’s complacency. I’m dialing down any expectations to level 2 until I hear something to make me think otherwise.

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About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | media design • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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4 Responses to Spandau Ballet + Trevor Horn = Tease

  1. I’m wondering if you have heard either of the two existing new songs from Once More and had any comments on their quality. Once they get those other three songs recorded and out there — and assuming they don’t repulse me in the way that “Gold,” for example, does — this might be an opportunity to use the selective buying power of iTunes to just get the “good stuff” from this paltry handful of new offerings. As I love music docs I would be interested in “Soulboys” but only if it primarily focuses on their better work (i.e., early period) rather than their CBS pap.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      chasinvictoria – Repulsed by “Gold??!!” Surely you jest…?!! As for “Soulboys” I’m betting that it focuses primarily on their Chrysalis era… and the lawsuit, with the CBS era given a well-deserved short shrift. I’ve not heard the two new songs. Are they on iTunes? No, damnit!

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    • Echorich says:

      chasinvictoria…it’s fine if you don’t have any love for Gold as I have enough for and entire audience. I can play it on repeat over and over. As for those two bits of fruit from the acoustic album…sort of low hanging and attacked by worms to these ears. Here’s hoping Trev can inspire some higher placed fruit blossoms on the upcoming (ugh) compilation…

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      • postpunkmonk says:

        Echorich – That’s more “Gold” for us, then! I find it to be one of their best songs ever, just behind “Chant No. 1” and “Glow.” The 12″ mix is a thing of wonder! Thanks for the tip on the two new tracks. I was not overly confident in the hasty “Once More” album, and the cover just looked wrong, so I didn’t bother with it. I just want to hear non-ballads! Is that too much to ask? Let Hadley do that stuff on his solo career! Hell, SB covering “Rio” would be preferable to more attempts at another “True.”

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