Most acts find second albums notoriously difficult but, when work started on Diamond, the follow-up to Spandau Ballet’s debut album, Journeys To Glory, there was plenty of cause for optimism. Chant No.1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On) had proved an enormous UK hit in the summer of 1981, positioning the New Romantic poster boys closer to the energetic euphoria of the British dance scene and even creating ripples in the US. Songwriter Gary Kemp sensed that the urban dance sound offered the most obvious channel for a new musical direction without entirely abandoning the group’s early Blitz Club inspiration.
Listen to ‘Diamond’ here.
“We never sat down and decided where the album was going”
Released as a follow-up single that November, Paint Me Down was formed from a palette then common in British nightclubs: horn-heavy and featuring those collective vocal hooks favoured by jazz-funk giants Beggar And Co. However, with an ambitious artistic storyboard overexposing the boys in a then controversial video (though fans lapped up the loincloth sequences), the clip was all but banned from children’s pop TV programming, all but ensuring its unexpected stall at No.30.
Kemp later admitted to feeling some uncertainty over where the band were pitching themselves. “We’d never sat down and decided where the album was going,” he wrote in his 2009 autobiography, I Know This Much. “I – in my bedroom – was allowed to ramble.”