East of the Sun, West of the Moon (1991) All over the country, aging MTV junkies await the day when the Norwegian electropop mimics in a-ha come up with another ditty as miraculous as… A-Ha Pop
Music Review

East of the Sun, West of the Moon (1991)

EW's GRADE
D+

Details Lead Performance: A-Ha; Genre: Pop

All over the country, aging MTV junkies await the day when the Norwegian electropop mimics in a-ha come up with another ditty as miraculous as ''Take On Me,'' the go-for-broke plea for a love connection that topped the charts in 1985. Judging from the new album, it looks like fans will have to keep waiting — and as with followers of the long-defunct ABBA (that other Scandinavian act with a palindrome for a name), they may have to wait forever. With titles like ''Crying in the Rain,'' ''Cold River,'' ''Rolling Thunder,'' and ''(Seemingly) Nonstop July,'' East of the Sun appears to be a song cycle about the seasons, sort of like the British band XTC's ''Skylarking'' only not half as catchy. Symphonic piano grandeur and alternating blues/metal/flamenco/funk additives collapse beneath the bloated synthesizer slush. On ''Take On Me'' Morten Harket's croon sailed toward the horizon with the abandon of a bright-eyed prep-school grad anticipating great days ahead. But here his unyielding groan suggests something closer to a mid-life crisis. Just what we need: another washed-up art-rock curmudgeon, probably bitter because his hackwork was never taken as seriously as his mom tells him it should have been. D+

Originally posted Jan 18, 1991 Published in issue #49 Jan 18, 1991 Order article reprints