“Record” Review: ABC – Christmas With Love EP

DL EP | 2016

DL EP | 2016

ABC: Christmas With Love DL EP [2016]

  1. A Christmas We Deserve
  2. The Love Inside The Love [acoustic]
  3. Viva Love [acoustic]
  4. The Look Of Love [acoustic]

T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house… echoed a special new xmas EP [DL only] from the normally shy and retiring ABC. This year have seen not only a new ABC album, but a few extra-curricular activities from the band like the “Eddie The Eagle” soundtrack or the “80s Re-Covered” project, and now this EP threaten to give us a near-flood of rarities from this band who are capable of taking 8-10 years between albums. One hopes that they could see fit to dole out trinkets like these between their increasingly rare full-length waxings, but no. That’s not the way it has happened this year.

I actually heard about this from prime commenter Tim several weeks ago. He was unconvinced, and since I basically collect ABC, I felt I’d better grab this before it went away, given its seasonal nature. It’s out there at the usual digital gateways, but since I had won an iTunes gift card a few months back, I cashed part of it in on this EP. I have to admit, that he had a point. Sporting a title like “A Christmas We Deserve” gave me the notion that this could have been a bitterly double edged song that ironically referenced the perfect storm of awfulness that 2016 has been, but this isn’t it. It is a cheese-injected attempt at treacle that stands as the most awkward tune I’ve ever heard from the normally nimble pen of Mr. Fry. Though I do have to say that Fry’s kid has been making great strides at mastering that Garage Band software.

Fortunately, the rest of the EP gave me a love-themed conceptual hat trick of generally interesting acoustic tracks. Songs that gave Martin Fry a chance to newly sing three of his tunes [and his biggest hit] in a setting that gave his adroit vocals a more sympathetic setting than the first song. Fry has always been a singer to listen to with pleasure, and these acoustic versions gave me more satisfaction than Tim had managed to wring from them. While I admit that the arrangements of ABC songs can be truly spectacular, I also maintain that Fry’s vocals are their own brand of gratification. He could be singing these acappella and I’d probably still sign on for a tour of duty.

The instrumentation here favored piano, with a subtle, acoustic rhythm guitar chaser. Fry shared the vocals with an unnamed lady and their interplay on “Viva Love” and particularly “The Look Of Love” was very tasty indeed. I have to admit that these acoustic versions have worked like a charm for me. Part of it is down to the casual format. It’s just a quick seasonal DL EP. Unlike, say, Simple Minds, I don’t have to worry that ABC will undertake a dreaded new direction that sees them doffing their orchestrations for acoustic Gibsons and a harmonica rack. I associate ABC with pop music and they have had an eclectic career; most of it to my liking. I don’t hold them to the standard that I do with Simple Minds, so that’s why I’m not a Scrooge towards these acoustic versions. My suggestion? Download the acoustic versions and try to sample the “A-side” before buying. It could be a long decade or more until the next ABC album and we have to tide ourselves over, eh?

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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7 Responses to “Record” Review: ABC – Christmas With Love EP

  1. Echorich says:

    Early on Christmas morning and now I have an unexpected smile on my face!
    I’m not at all disappointed in A Christmas We Deserve. I think Martin had no intention of over writing the lyrics to this song and I enjoy the homey, real life images he put to song. And as for that double edged sword…I’m not so sure there isn’t a hint of it deep in there.
    The acoustic track are really magnificent! I started with last first needing to hear if The Look Of Love would have the same power and joie de vivre – AND IT DOES!
    Viva Love continues to prove itself as a ressurected ABC classic, and The Love Inside Of Love is the song that feels the most complete in an acoustic performance. Martin’s lyrics make even more impact than on the album original. It is simple and beautiful.

    Merry Christmas, Peace And Understanding On Earth!


  2. SimonH says:

    This is getting some radio play in the UK, really wanted to love it but some of the lyrics are too cringe inducing for me, still rather an ABC Xmas song than Mariah Carey for the 100th time…


  3. SimonH says:

    Oh and happy Christmas to all!


  4. Mr. Ware says:

    Aww… I’m totally okay with this too. I totally give him a pass. Wishing everyone here very happy holidays and I look forward to continuing our never ending conversations. Cheers!


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