Monday, August 4, 2014

Spandau Ballet: Once More (2009)

"So true, funny how it seems
always in time, but never in line for dreams, head over heels and toe to toe
this is the sound of my soul, this is the sound
I bought a ticket to the world, but now I've come back again.

-Spandau Ballet, True, True (1983)-

With the squabbles and court litigation between Gary Kemp and the rest of the Spandau Ballet clan spearheaded by vocalist Tony Hadley behind them, the band returned with Once More (2009). That recording featured rather impressive re-workings of eleven of their own originals sandwiched between two new recordings in Once More (penned by Kemp and Norman) and Love Is All (penned by Hadley). The recording was actually a pleasant surprise. It was their first effort back in the studio since Heart Like A Sky (1989) and reunited the act following some rather turbulent years. But songwriter/guitarist Gary Kemp, vocalist Tony Hadley, multi-instrumentalist Steve Norman, drummer John Keeble and Martin Kemp on bass sound in fine form.

As a brief aside, in that interim Tony Hadley released a number of solo efforts. The most noteworthy and enjoyable of which was Tony Hadley (1997) following the generally awful The State Of Play (1992). Even Gary Kemp was making his solo efforts. With Tony Hadley it was as if Hadley got back to basics and the production was the perfect complement for his voice. Cover tracks on the solo effort included exceptional renditions of Woman In Chains (Tears For Fears), Save A Prayer (Duran Duran), Slave To Love (Roxy Music), She's Gone (Hall And Oates), Free Fallin' (Tom Petty) and a number of other stellar choices from a number of peers and contemporary influences. Wonderful Life and First OF May (The Bee Gees) were two more highlights.

Honestly, the 1980s - it was like another planet!

Who wouldn't want this to land on American soil all over again?

Once More arrived to end a significant dry spell for the band that seemed all but finished once upon a time. But like superheroes, do bands ever truly die? Gold, True, Lifeline, Only When You Leave, Communication and Chant No 1 all received new treatments and Once More was an unexpected pleasure that ended what seemed like the end of a band.

So it was quite a surprise to read that Spandau Ballet were in the studio yet again for a recording of true originals. Billboard touting the project as their first recording of new material in 25 years. Technically that's true, but let's not forget the new efforts behind Once More.

25 years - it always makes for good press.

All the more exciting though is that Spandau Ballet will be working with the legendary and once truly awesome producer Trevor Horn (The Buggles, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, ABC). Unfortunately Horn isn't what he used to be. Are any of us? But if Horn is half as good as he once was for Spandau Ballet I remain optimistic that the end product should delight. Release date likely for 2015. Looking forward to the next Spandau Ballet communication. At least they are back at it once more.

Spandau Ballet Discography:
Journeys To Glory (1981)/ Diamond (1982)/ True (1983) */ Parade (1984) */ Through The Barricades (1986)/ Heart Like A Sky (1989)/ Once More (2009). The collections are too many to count, but get a quality one like Gold: The Best Of Spandau Ballet (2000) * or Reformation (2002) and you won't be disappointed.
* essential