Luna Kafé e-zine  Luna Kafé record review
coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 69 - 05/26/02

Ai Phoenix
Lean That Way Forever
Racing Junior/Universal

"Bird Whispering - all the way down here - trembling sky comes clear" whispers Mona Mørk in her slowcore mysterious universe in the latest album from Ai Phoenix. This band is clearly one of Luna Kafe's favourites with their charming sweet lo-fi country cabaret universe. They recently got a record deal and Europe distribution (outside Norway and Sweden) with respectable Glitterhouse Record in company with among others Walkabouts and 16 Horsepower. This gives the band a unique chance to reach out to a larger audience in Europe even though they've always had a cult status and faithful fans there. The band is in this present date touring Europe and has among other places played at the legendary "Orange Blossom Special Festival" in Germany.

So what's new with this latest album compared to the earlier albums? Among other things there's a more varied expression on this album, due to the fact that Patrick Lundberg is singing more than he used to. The two voices are quite different and this gives the album a nice total whole. Patrick with his gentle, careful voice is the more typical low-fi vocal and Mona with her sensual, whispering voice gives the sound a touch of dark mystery and drama. She brings back memories of Lisa Germano or even Anita Lane. This altering between the slow low-fi tunes and the more cabaret like tunes brings forth every song. There's also a sense of longing nostalgia to the old times and some of the songs brings associations of dancehall music with a glamorous singer in a red, glittering dress. They even does a nice cover of the Moulin Rouge song "where is your heart" from the 50's. On the best song on the album, "Storyteller", is the musical relation to both Edith Piaf and Leonard Cohen quite clear, filled with passion and drama.

As a whole the songs are small, delicate pieces often with minimal instruments, with the voice and the good melody in the centre. This is the perfect album for the nice summer evenings and lazy mornings.

Best moments: "Bird whispering" - a beautiful small poptune; "Where is your heart" - and the nostalgia lives on; "Ice-cold storm" - an elegant dancehall waltz in slow motion with some Mexican elements; "Storyteller" - an exciting journey through the musical soundscape of Paris on a cold and foggy night.

Copyright © 2002 Mariann Skjerdal e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Ai Phoenix articles/reviews: Happy To Get Her, Hey Now / Being Here Is Everything, I've been gone - Letter one, The Driver is Dead.

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