Spandau Ballet

Diamond

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    6
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AllMusic Review by

With the new romantic movement they'd helped spearhead on the way out, futurist icons Spandau Ballet began thinking seriously about the future on their second album. The seeds of the group's transition to a slick, MOR soul outfit can be heard in hits like "Chant No. 1," the best song Spandau Ballet had come up with. More funk than rock, "Chant No. 1" got punctuation from the horn section of the British R&B act Beggar & Co., who were apparently a major inspiration for the track. Diamond features other tentative moves toward an authentically soulful sound; the tuneless single "Paint Me Down" is all chattering rhythm guitar and popping bass, while "She Loved Like Diamond" offers an inferior trial run at the approach that would produce the global mega-hit "True" (this version has an underdeveloped melody, which is OK, since still-improving vocalist Tony Hadley wasn't ready yet for a better one). The rest of the album sounds like the group had been listening too long to the second side of David Bowie's Heroes. "Pharoah" is off-kilter funk reminiscent of "The Secret Life of Arabia" -- a dubious choice for emulation -- and the gentle, oriental balladry of "Innocence and Science" segues into "Missionary," a percussion-filled mood piece light on actual substance. Although it's an improvement on their debut, Diamond showed Spandau Ballet was musically still far behind likeminded acts such as Duran Duran, Ultravox, and Visage -- a situation that would change somewhat with the band's next, most successful album, True.

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