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Spandau Ballet - Once More

2010-03-04 10:31
Once More

They can also lay claim to being one the first bands to score a shadow hit through that dubious technique called "sampling", when PM Dawn snatched a lick off "True" to create "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss" in 1991. By then Spandau had split rather acrimoniously, with lawsuits going back and forth for a couple of years. Fast forward to 2009, and to the delight of a still-devoted fanbase, the band announced a reunion, touring their hits and a couple of new songs, too.

Which brings us to Once More, the said collection of hits plus, performed by the gentlemen who should be on the Board of Pop Music Directors, this time sounding a little more acoustic than back in those heady days of cavernous reverb and DX7 pads.

Tony Hadlee's voice is as familiar as it is self-assured, performing songs it surely knows very well with a matured twist or two to keep it interesting. The same goes for the rest of the band, which, strange is it may sound, is actually a bit of a problem.

There are a couple of things you could do to make a re-recording of your singles sit better. Especially if it's been twenty odd years since your charting years. Why you’d risk sullying those memories with a straight recording that’s adequate but not particularly needed, is a shame.

Spandau could have opted to make the recording live, which would have given it a special edge, reviving a great collection of songs by a great band in front of a juiced audience. Crooning out in a small sit-down club could have really amped this set.

They could have reinvented the songs like Cyndi Lauper did for The Body Acoustic (2005). That would have possibly put a new spin on tunes that are themselves already permanently etched into the brain of persons my age or older.

They could have done both, which might have elevated the set to legendary icon status. I mean, who doesn’t want to see a great band show that it can still kick creative ass live when it counts?

Instead, they've opted to simply recreate songs that sound a bit too much like the originals, and not enough like originals. It's a fine line, and it may seem pedantic, but great recordings deserve their respect. And that’s something Spandau just seemed to not consider for their classics like "True", "Gold” and the especially iconic "Through the Barricades".

In truth, it's not a bad recording at all, but for the most part, the songs sounded better in their bombastic eighties heyday.

When Spandau Ballet formed in the late 70s, they caught the New Romantic wave early and rode it like champions, garnering several top ten hits and critically acclaimed albums, and comparing very favourably to contemporaries like Duran Duran and ABC.

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