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Ghost Canyon

Title - 'Reformation' (EMI)
Artist - Spandau Ballet
The 80's have always been (sometimes unjustly) associated with bad clothes, bad hair and to some ... bad music. I, for one, have always liked 80's stuff and I can see it more these days when people aren't able to come up with new lyrics or new music, but just decide to remake the past afresh. Reformation is a reminder to us of the good old days when music was made to make you feel good. There's no violent lyrics, no pounding bass, and no mazzy electronica beats that either put you to sleep or worse, make you dizzy ! But, don't get me wrong, I can appreciate most of the different genres, but the 80's seem to be closest to my heart. Spandau Ballet although not as commercially popular as the ever-evolving Duran Duran, has made some really good music and it is in this worthy 3 CD collection - that includes some brilliant photos of the boys back in their heyday - that Spandau Ballet truly live again in 2003 ! With so many tracks to choose from, and so many remixes and such, the stand out cuts for me would have to be the updated, new mix of "True". Although the original will never be out of place at any time, it gives me shivers to hear Tony Hadley's quite luxuriously brilliant vocals crystal clear once again. "Heaven Is a Secret' was an almost unnoticed song from the great True album, but yet is complete and powerful for all the right recording reasons. "With The Pride' is yet another under-appreciated ballad from Spandau (this time from Parade) that showcased Tony's emotional singing, but just why wasn't the impressively seductive "Round and Round" also included in this set ?! CD2 of the 3 disc set contains 10 live tracks recorded at Sadlers Wells (England) in May of '83 and highlight the band in their early, chart-topping form. Some of the tracks include "Foundation," "Pleasure," "Paint Me Down" and both "Instinction" and their first single, "To Cut A Long Story Short". The remixes are fine especially the almost epic "Gold", the uplifting "Lifeline", the witty "Communication", and my favorite, the extended version (from the 12" LP) of 'Highly Strung". This will make you think how far remixes have evolved from the 80's when people were just contented with the one extended version, like, perhaps a Dub Version or an Instrumental Version ! Let us also not undermine Gary Kemp's ever consistent writing and of course the whole bands efforts. I can also not imagine that these guys were barely in their 20's when they started singing about life, love and everything in between. That was the happy era of the 80's and it's just sad that they ceased to make the same music as before. Meantime, Reformation is a happy adventure back in time and truly the most ultimate Spandau Ballet collection to date.
Russ Trunk

To read our exclusive interview with lead singer Tony Hadley just click here and be whisked away !