Review Summary: Groovy.
Mind you this is going to be a pretty consise review for a dense album. "The Lexicon of Love" is what I'd call an underrated gem, and this is not a term I use lightly. ABC for me is not a band I'd heard of before stumbling over them somewhere on Wikipedia, and boy, I'm glad I did. This synth-pop, post-disco wonder is like a rainbow to my ears. Basically every song has a strong hook. The songs feel fleshed out, especially enriched with colourful string sections, underlying synth lines and groovy bass lines. Most songs have a beat that makes subtle dance moves come to life in you. As the album title suggests, the overarching theme is love, and the lyrics and album feel transports you to an 80s romantic drama film, with Martin Fry delivering the lines in an energetic and melodramatic manner, perfect for the nocturnal love mood.
The album opens strongly with "Show Me", with everything I've described packed into the very first minute. Mechanical basslines that a little later have a very organic feel, driving the song with its strong punch. "Many Happy Returns" fashionably suits the nocturnal feel I mentioned, along with "Tears Are Not Enough", although this one resembles more of a night out at the club. The latter is by far the funkiest tune here, and yes, it was indeed the first single released, unsurprisingly. The album follows the funky 'n smooth suite quite closely, with few songs standing out as particularily weak or strong, but to choose a favorite, I'd go for "All of My Heart", with its very solid chorus, flavoured with loud and powerful strings. The album's coda, "Theme from "Mantrap"" is my pick for the weakest, essentially rewriting "Poison Arrow" into a late-night ballad, fit for the soundtrack it's for.
To summarize, it's strange to me how this album isn't more revered that it is. The amount of ratings it has on Sputnik says that, and it clearly deserves more recognition for the strong songwriting it presents. If you should listen to this, I suggest around midnight, to truly capture the right atmosphere for it.