For those of us who always loved ABC's second album "Beauty Stab" just (or almost) as much as its perfect predecessor "The Lexicon Of Love", this 1997 album is a return to old strength - sort of. Virtually a Martin Fry solo album, the singer is assisted by multi-instrumentalist Keith Lowndes - and Heaven 17's Glenn Gregory on backing vocals, all three of them sharing writing and production credits. Good songwriting is back in again, a relief after the mostly feeble efforts ever since "Beauty Stab": I mean, honestly, "Night You Murdered Love" or "When Smokey Sings" were just so sloppy and dull compared to anything on their first albums, not to speak of all the other forgettable songs.
So with lots of good songs for this album here, what could possibly go wrong? Well, a lot of the song material goes heavily in the "Glam" direction, e.g. Roxy Music circa 1975/1979, not a million miles from "Beauty Stab" indeed, but "Scyscraping" suffers from the abscence of a live rhythm section. The programmed drums and bass lines have no power at all (remember: Beauty Stab actually featured the rhythm section that played on Roxy's "Avalon") and the rhythmic saxophone samples are poor ersatz for Stephen Singleton. So while all this is a bit of a let-down, "Skyscraping" is still worth listening to. Stand-out tracks are "Only The Best Will Do", "Seven Day Weekend and the epic "Light Years", also the single "Stranger Things".