The Shadows

Specs Appeal

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What a great title! To two generations of fans, the Shadows' most instantly familiar trademark was Hank Marvin's spectacles -- long before Elton John elevated eye glasses to the height of sartorial chic, there was Hank, playing away and smiling behind a gentle pair of horn rims. So, when the band re-formed in 1975, relaunching their career on the back of their Eurovision entry "Let Me Be the One," what better device could there have been to remind us all who they were? The album, unfortunately, is less inspired. "Let Me Be the One" was never going to be a Shadows classic, simply because they sang on it -- the best of the band, a decade and more before, was purely instrumental. And while they did fall back on their greatest abilities elsewhere across Specs Appeal, it was all very polite, bordering on Muzak or, at best, trendy elevator rock. "Honourable Puff Puff," "Colorado Sunshine," "Spider Juice," and "This House Runs on Sunshine" are all pleasant enough foot tappers, but nothing reaches out and grab you in true Shadows style, not even the beautifully crafted version of "God Only Knows" that opens the album. When news first broke of the Shadows' reunion, most people agreed that it was great to have them back. But they'd have to do a lot better than this to make us remain grateful.

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