October 07, 1985 12:00 PM

The decline and fall of the New Romantic school of pop music that started in Britain a few years ago came quickly enough to warm the heart of even the chilliest cynic. Groups such as ABC and Spandau Ballet aspired to a lyricism that the stuffy quality of their music more often than not could not live up to. After releasing a confusing film (Mantrap) and a disappointing album (Beauty Stab) in 1983, ABC faded from view. This comeback indicates that the downward spiral was never really checked. Still formally attired, by pop music standards, in both musical and haberdashery terms, the band’s core of Martin Fry and Mark White has been joined by drummer Eden and keyboardist David Yarritu. That supersophisticated facade proves too thin to support lively music; attempts at dance tracks, such as 15 Storey Halo, are particularly pretentious. ABC’s early hits (Poison Arrow, for instance) were robust and gripping, but this record is fulsomely mannered and lifeless. (Polygram)

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