Album: A-Ha, Foot Of The Mountain (We Love Music/Universal)

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Over at A-Ha's Norse Fortress of Solitude, confusion reigns as the trio try to come to terms with the "Sunny Mystery" of, presumably, why the sun keeps rising every day, instead of falling from the sky onto their heads.

"Life is the dream that you wake up to," they decide, "dreams are the life from which you wake" – new-age psychobabble which echoes the topsy-turvy logic of their hit "Take On Me", whose video, you'll recall, featured a cartoon world peopled by motorcyclist bullies. That hit was a textbook case of three elements in perfect harmony: a decent melody, distinctive delivery, and a dazzling video – none of which, unless they've something impressive to show us, applies to the 10 songs on Foot Of The Mountain.

The closest they come to decent melodies are pale echoes of Coldplay and "Everybody's Talkin'", while Morten Harket's once-freakish falsetto is now less imposing. They have, however, returned to the faceless, neat electropop which brought them success, its throbbing synths supplying a designer-melancholy backdrop for their songs of high-gloss, suburban alienation, in which true intimacy is impossible and, as the title track attests, "silence is everything". Which is better advice than they perhaps intended.

Download this: 'Real Meaning', 'What There Is'