It is understandable that one would write off the music of Spandau Ballet….They went from being a synth pop band from the New Romantic/Blitz scene to a top 40 pop group to adult easy listening- the kind of music one might find on movie soundtracks.
However, Spandau Ballet did have two strengths going for it….Gary Kemp, guitarist, keyboardist and songwriter, developed into a Burt Bacharach crafter of exquisite singles….Tony Hadley, the vocalist, had a powerful voice that could overpower a song and then lessen to the barest pulse to convey the rise and fall of emotions.
I was not a big fan….I liked their singles but didn’t buy their albums-pleasant but disposable pop….I have however developed a newfound appreciation of their music largely due to my wife who is a fan.
In particular, the 2009 reunion album ONCE MORE which finds Spandau Ballet going the Eagles route-new acoustic based with string arrangement versions of their hits….This setting perfectly suits Kemp’s pop standards much more than the 80’s studio foppery of the time….Hadley’s vocals are to notch as well.
I don’t think this new version works as well on GOLD (My favorite SP song) or on TRUE which is so ingrained in the collective conscious….However, all the other versions here are tremendous especially their first single as a band TO CUT A LONG STORY SHORT which is transformed from a herky jerky example of early 80’s new wave agitation to a breathless intense mood piece.