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Customer Review

on 21 December 2004
Before I even knew what a "trevor horn" was, i was in awe of this album and Frankie's "Pleasuredome" within the same year. "Lexicon" set the standard for my pop/rock ears. It was truly the very first album i would obsessively listen to over and over without skipping a single track and all the while wondering "Why aren't all albums made this way??". Later, I would discover "Avalon" by Roxy Music (which actually came first, but not to my ears). ABC's original killer lineup (Fry, White, Singleton, Lickley, and, most of all, Palmer) had hammered out (with Horn) the ulitmate distillation of what HAD been great 70*s music to form the pinnacle of New Romanticism for the 80*s.
The songs are an endless stream of witty couplets, like Satan himself had possesed your average dictionary of qoutations and was using it to sing the evils of love! The lowbrow take on highbrow lyricism all the while laughs at it's own haughty pretension, and Fry's ever-straining (though succeeding!) vocal delivery is emotive and leavening all at once! Tessa Niles (then Webb) made her mark as the angel of the New Romantic bands with her cameo parts here. Duran Duran would allude to her spots on Lexicon with their "Come Undone" single (that record seeming to mourn a bygone era).
Trevor Horn (I know what one is now!) assembled the core army that would march forth as ZTT (and the before-mentioned Frankie) around this effort, and the collective genius of all concerned, coupled with an exacting attention to recorded sonics (predicting the digital era to come...) would rise to heights unimagined. This record is every bit as engaging and lofty as any classical symphony or suite. Horn even managed to "tart up' and incorporate a track produced by someone else (Steve Brown on "Tears Are Not Enough") seemlessly. Fortunately for listeners, the original 7 inch single version is here for comparison. Also of note is the FABULOUS jazz mix of "Poison Arrow" (which i long treasured on vinyl) that proves Trevor's chops as an ombudsman arranger and mixer! Some of you may like to know that a "scratch" mix of 'Look of Love" is out there (part 5), it has it's moments, really, but I can see why it missed the cut here...
ABC's graphic sensibility PRE dated Pet Shop Boys and was in no small measure responsible for their success first time out. The Deluxe version exquistitely re-tailors the original graphics (Universal/Polygram in-house art has long been a leader in tasteful treatments, even when assigning such work to outside firms). Lots of Goodies for the eyeballs here, as well. The Live and Demo cuts are great, academically speaking. I only wish disc one had incorporated "overture" and "look parts 2 and 3" and left all else to disc two, it would have been less jarring. The sound has a certain "punched and compressed" quality in the percussion parts that was (like vintage Motown singles) a big part of it's vinyl success. It has obviously been decided to not mess with perfection in the audio approach, and the oddness of this approach is preserved (wise choice in my book!).
I sincerely hope this album is one day given the 5.1 surround mix it so desperately deserves. It would definitely pose a challenge to Mr. Horn, and he may well feel it is too risky to mess with perfection. This album deserves that extra detail every bit as much as Roxy's "Avalon" did, and "Avalon" succeeded as such, so please Trevor, give a try for the old guard! THANK GOD THIS ALBUM HAS GOTTEN IT'S DUE HONOR AT LAST! You will proudly own the very best if you buy it, even the original vanity "Neutron" label is used! Purveyors of Supa-Fine Product, indeed!
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