ABC ‎– Christmas... With Love

Virgin EMI Records ‎– none
4 × File, AAC, EP, 256 kbps

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℗ 2016 Blatant Music Ltd, under exclusive licence to Virgin EMI Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Ltd

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Other (iTunes ID): id1177753102



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December 29, 2016

This year have seen not only a new ABC album, but a few extra-curricular activities from the band like the “Eddie The Eagle” soundtrack or the “80s Re-Covered” project, and now this EP threaten to give us a near-flood of rarities from this band who are capable of taking 8-10 years between albums. One hopes that they could see fit to dole out trinkets like these between their increasingly rare full-length waxings, but no. That’s not the way it has happened this year.

I actually heard about this a blog reader several weeks ago. He was unconvinced, but since I basically collect ABC, I felt I’d better grab this before it potentially went away, given its seasonal nature. Having bought it, I have to admit that he had a point. Sporting a title like “A Christmas We Deserve” gave me the notion that this could have been a bitterly double edged song that ironically referenced the perfect storm of awfulness that 2016 has been, but this isn’t it. It was a cheese-injected attempt at treacle that stands as the most awkward tune I’ve ever heard from the normally nimble pen of Mr. Fry. Though I do have to say that Fry’s kid has been making great strides at mastering that Garage Band software.

Fortunately, the rest of the EP gave me a love-themed conceptual hat trick of generally interesting acoustic tracks. Songs that gave Martin Fry a chance to newly sing three of his tunes [and his biggest hit] in a setting that gave his adroit vocals a more sympathetic setting than the first song. Fry has always been a singer to listen to with pleasure, and these acoustic versions gave me more satisfaction than Tim had managed to wring from them. While I admit that the arrangements of ABC songs can be truly spectacular, I also maintain that Fry’s vocals are their own brand of gratification. He could be singing these acappella and I’d probably still sign on for a tour of duty.

The instrumentation here favored piano, with a subtle, acoustic rhythm guitar chaser. Fry shared the vocals with an unnamed lady and their interplay on “Viva Love” and particularly “The Look Of Love” was very tasty indeed. I have to admit that these acoustic versions have worked like a charm for me. Part of it is down to the casual format. It’s just a quick seasonal DL EP. My suggestion? Download the acoustic versions and try to sample the “A-side” before buying. It could be a long decade or more until the next ABC album and we have to tide ourselves over, eh?