Title - 'Animal' (Something Music)
Artist - Berlin
After an eight year absence, Berlin returns with their latest album of new material entitled Animal. In truth now just original lead (sex symbol) singer Terri Nunn, Animal is a huge step into the world of electronica, that’s for sure.
Back in the day Berlin were an American new wave band formed in Los Angeles in 1978 by John Crawford (bass guitar). Band members included Crawford, Terri Nunn (vocals), David Diamond (keyboards), Ric Olsen (guitar), Matt Reid (keyboards) and Rod Learned (drums). However, Learned actually left during the first EU tour and was replaced by Rob Brill.
Anyway, as noted above, this new Terri Nunn-led Berlin brings her own 21st century incarnation kicking and screaming into 2014 with a full-on embrace of the EDM scene grasped firmly in both hands.
The title track kicks-off this terrific new album and wow, does it sound new and invigorating a-sound! Truly, this first song could well be a dance floor smash if it were sung by some young popster of the new generation of musical chart fluff we live in! Nunn’s vocals lift, soar above many other younger ones currently annoying us on the charts, but get a little lost in the slick production at times, to be honest. The more sedate ‘Nice To Meet You’ is next, before the ballad ‘It’s The Way’ and then the electro pop of ‘With The Lights On.’
It has to be said that Animal was not the Berlin album I was expecting to review once it had arrived here this week! My memories of Berlin back in the day were of a slightly harder, alternative-edged band that had mainstream-commercial success in the early 80’s with singles such as ‘The Metro,’ ‘Sex (I'm A...),’ ‘No More Words’ and then in the mid 80’s with chart-topping hit single ‘Take My Breath Away’ (from the 1986 film Top Gun).
Moving on and the mid-tempo dance floor cut ‘Don’t Make Me Regret’ (“You put your name on my skin, don’t let me regret I let you in”) is next with the piano-fused tale of heartbreak ‘Blame It On The World’ following thereafter. The electronic feel continues with the slight ‘Secrets,’ before the all-out electronic fest of ‘Break The Chains.’
A darker, Gary Numanesque beginning bleeds quickly into something lighter for ‘Stand Up,’ with a rip-roaring cover of Jefferson Airplane’s ‘Somebody To Love’ backing it. The album then comes to a close with the placid piano-based ‘Mom’ (“God knows you were crazy, but I loved the way you raised me”), before a remix of the title track finally wraps it all up neatly.
Look, I know we only have Terri Nunn as an original member these days, which is always the best person to have on vocals re: the original lead singer of a band, but the orchestration of the songs, the lyrics even have all taken a pop-trance avenue in exploration. Sure that‘s not a horrible direction to have undertaken, but is it evolution or simply a desire to (overly) try and fit into today‘s over saturated chart market? I shall leave you all to figure that one out upon your own listening parties.
Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk