Foot of the Mountain
Norwegian masters of melancholic synth-pop get back to basics.
Rating: 7 / 10
Jackie Hayden, 30 Jul 2009
Foot Of The Mountain is A-ha’s ninth studio album and the sequel to 2005’s Analogue. It follows their single ‘Take On Me’ being voted the biggest hit in the past 50 years in their native Norway. It also sees the trio going back to what they do best, melancholic synth pop laced with catchy hooks and unfussy arrangements, all assembled under the watchful ears of producer Steve Osborne (of Elbow and U2 fame).
‘The Bandstand’, which opens proceedings, is an up-tempo(ish) dance track boasting a cute, memorable chorus. The lighter radio-friendliness of ‘Riding The Crest’ recalls Culture Club at their cheekiest. Later, they darken the mood with ‘What There Is’ while ‘Real Meaning’ is slower, more guitar-based and lyrically more reflective with an upbeat chorus. Elsewhere, ‘Shadowside’ is another tuneful synth ballad, ‘Nothing Is Keeping You Here’ is distinguished by a falsetto chorus, and the heavier ‘Mother Nature Goes To Heaven’ shows the band at their least cluttered.
KEY TRACK: ‘FOOT OF THE MOUNTAIN’