Building Beauty

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They missed out on stateside success, but Endgames' only album is superior to a lot of the haircut band hits of the early '80s. Even though the British quartet's best-known song -- the club smash "First, Last, for Everything" -- inexplicably wasn't included on Building Beauty, the album is a consistently tuneful, and at times delightful, collection of songs that aren't dependent on Linn drums and Fairlight synths for their appeal. Produced by Col Campsie and George McFarlane, better known to British audiences as techno-pop duo the Quick, the disc definitely benefits from the pair's chart savvy (although the sound seems rather thin now). Endgames doesn't slum too long in the groove-happy neo-disco of the time, redeeming the catchy but mindless "Desire" and "Ecstasy" with compositions of genuine warmth and blue-eyed soul. "Waiting for Another Chance" is the sort of Motown pastiche many new wavers tried, but few were this successful; "Miracle in My Heart" and the single "Love Cares" are pure, propulsive pop; and "Searching for Love" offers a yearning ballad that deserved to be immortalized on plenty of late-night mix tapes. The band manages all this without an outstanding singer; vocally, David Rudder is a clear cut below likeminded peers Martin Fry of ABC and Heaven 17's Glenn Gregory. But great songs can overcome a variety of flaws, and do so again here. The disappointment is that Endgames was never able to build on the beauty of this wonderful synth pop souvenir.

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