Amidst the bargain bins, somewhere between a Color Me Bad sales disaster release and multi-copies of Marky Mark's "You gotta believe", you'll find nestled another 'marketing miss' by the English new wave duo ABC, who created some of the genre's most memorable, soul-bearing, and finest pop records of the 1980s. 1991's MCA-only release "Abracadabra" was quick to enter discontinuity after two singles failed to make an impact on the US Pop charts given the duo's high expectations.
Despite the misfortunes of MCA (the company underwent major executive changes that trickled downward), ABC created a fantastic arangement of smooth-dance layered with jazz-esque rythms and cutting edge synth production. Fans of ABC won't be surprised to see the duo exploring yet another musical direction (from "Lexicon of Love's" orchestrated synth harmonies to "Up's" house dressing), this time marching down the groove of Philly street; the results are inventive yet soothing. From the simplistic imagery of "Love Conquers All" (the first single), to the magical motion of the instrumental "Satori", the production remains extremely tight, locking in the flavor of the recording without tarnishing its craftsmanship. Although primarily more mature than any of the duo's previous work, "Abra.." doesn't always hold back the intrinsic frustration of one Martin Fry. "I was a victim, but nobody's fool!" he boasts on "Welcome to the Real World", one of ABC's greatest album tracks in their recording history. "Say it", mixed by the short-lived dance act Blackbox ("Everybody Everybody"), springs forth a classic ABC moment, reminiscent of "Be near me" from the 'Zillionaire period. The bonus remix, however, is quite unnecessary despite the packaging of LPs during the early 1990s.
Calling "Abracadabra' a classic perhaps would be an overstatement. However, unlike "Lexicon", "'Zillionaire", or "Up", "Abra.." has withstood the test of time, remaining as fresh and contemporary as when it was first released. As other ABC albums become more available with Master Releases and compilations galore, "Abra.." is the gem of their diversive yet intriguing catalog. Available at most online auction sites, grab while you can!