Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Thanks to Aha

When Aha took cheekbones and pop tunes to the top of the charts, record companies suddenly decided that there must be loads of other Scandinavian bands hidden away. As a result there were one or two signings and releases but with no one looking quite as good in leather wrist bands and denim shirts they soon lost interest.

However one band stood out from the rest. Norway's Fra Lippo Lippi were already on their 3rd lp by the time Virgin snapped them up.

Virgin should have known that they weren't going to get quite the pure pop machine of Aha, the fact that the band had named themselves after a 15th century Italian painter kind of gave the game away. However this didn't mean that they couldn't pen a good tune and the lp Songs had 10 of them.

The lp did enough for Virgin to ask for another lp. This time they worked with Walter Becker (Steely Dan's producer) with a aim of breaking the US market. The lp suffers for it as they lost some of that european sound that made them stand out in the first place. In another case of record company brilliance the label then promptly dropped them. A strange popularity in the Philippines meant that more lps followed but none really lived up to Songs.

This was one of those lps that for some reason I only had on tape and so it got played in the car a lot. When i moved to Glasgow I used to have to go back to Leeds a lot and so these songs are forever linked with driving at night and struggling along the A1 and across the A66

I've posted a couple tracks that show the 2 styles of the lp , mid tempo and melodic , slow and melodic (also I'm a sucker for any song with home in the lyric/title).

So I guess something good came of Take on Me and that annoying Steve Barron video.

You can buy Songs here, they also have a compilation of the 2 lps that they did for Virgin, but if you like melodic pop then I'd stick with Songs


  1. Once again you find a band that I have so much love for!
    FFL were just brilliant. They fit right into my post Japan search for the perfect eclectic pop sound. There are definitely influences from Sylvian and Co, in fact I believe if you listen to the Dolphin Brothers album Catch The Fall right after its like one really long perfect record. Songs is just a perfect album. There's a tenderness and fragility to each track.
    And you pointed out the one FFL fact that still amazes me to this day - they weren't Big In Japan...they were Big In Philippines!!! I think to this day, after a complete generation, Filipino's I know or meet all know/remember FFP!

  2. Hi Echo

    the dolphin brothers comparison is a good one


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