Album Review: Spandau Ballet – The Story: The Very Best of Spandau Ballet2 min read
After a hiatus lasting almost two decades, quintessential British new wave band Spandau Ballet reunited in 2009 to play sold-out shows across the UK and Ireland. One of the definitive bands of the new romantic period of the 1980s, Spandau Ballet were at the epicentre of all things youth culture, and became one of the most successful bands of the era, amassing 23 hit singles and over 25 million album sales worldwide. Off the back of their long awaited reunion, comes the critically lauded film, Soul Boys of The Western World, documenting the group’s rise, fall and eventual reunification to fame, as well as the release of a new collection of Spandau hits.
The Story: The Very Best of Spandau Ballet charts the fascinating musical journey of the band, from their early New Romantic days in which they spearheaded an era of new, synthesised pop, to their masterful command of the pop mainstream in the mid 1980s, as well as including three new tracks produced by Trevor Horn.
The album opens appropriately with the band’s first ever single, To Cut A Long Story Short, a distinctive example of the quirky music from the period. In fact, Spandau Ballet’s debut album Journeys To Glory is featured across the two-disc deluxe set in almost its entirety. The inventive arrangement of Chant No. 1, and the abrasive percussion of Musclebound epitomise the exciting, underground sound, born and bred on the dance floors of the West End.
We experience a tangible shift from the subversive sound of the band’s early days as the collection recollects the singles from their third album True that launched them to international stardom. The highly-stylised sounds of mainstream 1980s synthesised pop are embodied in soul and jazz-tinged classics Lifeline, True and Gold. The Story kicks through several of Spandau’s hit singles, which came in tidal waves over the next few years, including Only When You Leave, I’ll Fly For You, Round and Round, and Through The Barricade.
Importantly though, the second CD features tracks that weren’t included on the band’s 1985 and 1986 compilation albums, such as Code Of Love and Mandolin, making for a much broader, more interesting, and more worthwhile exploration of their history. Without the additional CD in its deluxe format The Story feels like a collection that has been released twice before. Having said that though, The Story isn’t just a compilation of the greatest hits of Spandau Ballet, but a retrospective soundtrack to the decade.