You've changed and how!

Original album cover
 They started as an experimental band called Vice Versa in 1977 in Sheffield. The city where many electronic bands like Cabaret Voltaire, Human League and Heaven 17 were founded. When Martin Fry interviewed them and became the lead singer they changed their name to ABC. With the help of Trevor Horn and Gary Langan they released their succesful debut album “Lexicon Of Love” including hits like "Poison Arrow", "All Of My Heart" and "The Look Of Love".
TWTBTIN - 12" single cover
Featuring Martin Fry, Mark White and Stephen Singleton they started recording their second album to be titled "Beauty Stab". David Palmer already left the band after their first album. They rented Andy Newmark (drums) and Alan Spenner (bass) who played and toured with Roxy Music. You can hear the typical Roxy Music sound throughout many tracks. The album was more mature then their previous album and included heavy guitars.
Inner sleeve group photo
This album is terrific from the beginning to the end. Co-produced by future Art Of Noise member Gary Langan. Sadly the album didn't gave the band the same effect like the debut album had to the world. Although the album reached #12 in the UK. Only 2 7"singles were released from the album and a 12" single including exactly the same tracks as the 7" single.

In late 1983 Britain was turning its back towards guitars and kitchen-sink lyrics. Glamour and fun were back in with bands like Wham!, Howard Jones, Culture Club, Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran. It was the time of the new romantics. People probably wanted more of that from ABC as well. But Martin Fry always changed the style dramatically with each album.
S.O.S. - Single cover
But like with many artists the end result is an album overlooked by the mass those days but in the end this turns out to be the best album ABC ever recorded. They stabbed the new romantic style and exchanged it for this beauty guitar rock. You can hear Martin Fry wanted the change and believed in it as you can hear in the first lines of "That Was Then But This Is Now" (TWTBTIN) as the album opener . "Why make the past your sacred cow, you know you’ve changed, you’ve changed and how".
Group photo from 1983. Mark White/Martin Fry/Stephen Singleton

On "By Default By Design" we can hear strings again like on their previous album and "Unzip" is almost in the same vein as "Poison Arrow". The choice for the 2 singles is actually good. The first one "TWTBTIN" continued the style of their previous singles with more guitar. "S.O.S." was already more in the style of ballads that will follow on their next albums. The album closes with a national anthem for their homecountry.

Beauty Stab
That Was Then but This Is Now / Love’s a Dangerous Language / If I Ever Thought You’d Be Lonely  / The Power of Persuasion / Beauty Stab / By Default by Design / Hey Citizen! / King Money / Bite the Hand / Unzip / S.O.S. / United Kingdom
That Was Then But This Is Now
The Power Of Persuasion

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