Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Beranek-Daylight In The Dark (1986)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: February 22, 2017

Getting my Wednesday morning started with a little "Daylight In The Dark", a requested album from the 80's catalog by the Norwegian pop/new wave singer Espen Beranek Holm. My formal introduction to him and his distinctively commanding, gritty voice started with the energetic opener, "Dancing In The Wind" (I kept wanting to write 'Dancing In The Dark', the title to a popular and very memorable Bruce Springsteen hit; so easy to get the track and the album's title mixed up here). Well this Beranek hit is sure to be popular amongst 80's listeners, thanks to its lively hook of a chorus where his rising vocals come to life! Didn't think twice about jumping down to the 5+ minute remix right afterwards, as I still wanted to stay in that get-my-morning-off-with-an-energetic-kick mode. I can see the producers had some fun playing around with the added effects, highlighted by the deep-voiced gluttonous monster (at least that's how I'd describe it) who sounds like he's just devoured its prey in the beginning, then the very end where that same gluttonous monster is paired opposite the chirpy female vocalist. Beranek shines most, in fact, on these peppy, upbeat tunes—the one called "Shine!", plus "Man Without Soul" (although his voice is much smoother here and the music has a softer, easier-listening air), "Paradise" (I love how his voice soars up on that delivery of 'paradise' in the chorus, and there's some real-life truth to his words of 'money serves you, money will obey') and the oddest and most new wave-spirited tune of them all, "True Love", where that same gluttonous monster from the "Dancing In The Wind" remix returns while the 'Phantom Of The Opera' style keyboard riffs and the Norwegian singer's spoken, emotionless words delivered in the verses (had me thinking about vampires there for a moment) create a noticeably dark, unsettling feel all throughout. But not to worry; there's plenty of daylight to be enjoyed elsewhere. Darkness, I gathered, seems to be Beranek's constant companion in quite a few places on this album He's haunted with the dilemma of wanting to tear down a wall of ice, but afraid of being caught in the fire back up on the second track; the woman in his life won't show hardly any outward emotions at all on "Teardrop" (the lyrics contrast nicely with the warming, airy vibe of the music, highlighted by the jazzy spark midway and the endless stilled ocean breeze of a backing ambiance throughout); he's done with playing all of the games on "Game Over"; and my favorite one, "A Stream Of Daylight", shows him searching for the exit from darkness in the woman who lights up his path. I could even throw in the slowed 2+ minute instrumental curiously called "Design" as contributing further to the whole 'darkness' theme. Whether you're in a bright mood or a moody mood, however, "Daylight In The Dark" is a delightful music collection that's sure to make somebody's day:

1. Dancing In The Wind
2. Play With The Fire
3. Shine!
4. Man Without Soul
5. Teardrop
6. A Stream Of Daylight'
7. Paradise
8. True Love
9. Game Over '
10. Design
11. Dancing In The Wind (12'' Remix)

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