A-Ha brings back the magic in Cast In Steel
Where it all started for me
It was the Grammy awards long back, they started to show the ceremony live on TV here, and I remember on that day I sat glued to the TV waiting to catch the show from the beginning. The opening act started with a new band, a new song and that infamous keyboard intro which became a hallmark of the band globally. It was A-ha with their biggest international hit Take on Me……and that song gave me goosebumps that day……it was in the 80’s. The booming voice, the keyboard, the beats, the lyrics, the tune and the entire feel of the song got me hooked absolutely and I became a fan……….
Eventually the band went on to become a million record selling band with iconic presence in the industry and also became role model and inspiration of many musicians throughout this decade.
A-Ha as a band…..
Formed in 1982 in Oslo, Norway, the band consists of Morten Harket in vocals, Magne Furuholmen in keyboards and Pal Waaktaar-Savoy in guitars. As Morten’s golden voice and Magne’s wizardry in keyboard and coupled with Pal’s guitars and drums took this band to sky heights and sealed their presence in the industry on firm footing basis in the mainstream pop genre.
They have nine brilliant albums before this one and even went on to look for different careers after a split up. Cast in Steel is a comeback reunion for the band and they are enjoying it in style, so are we, the fans. They are the true connoisseurs of vintage pop along with many legendary names from the 80’s in the same genre, with anthemic keyboard routines and guitar loops with great lyrics and memorable tunes, A-Ha is in the hearts and minds of their fans globally.
A-Ha….Cast in Steel
My heart sank on the news of the band dismantling much before this album came out. Like many die-hard fans of the band, I couldn’t grasp the reality that the boys from Norway are never gonna sing again together, and their song “The Last Hurrah” almost pointed to that split and send the message across before they officially announced it.
Thus, it came as one of the biggest and nicest of surprises to hear of the new album in the making and the band talking about a last reunion. And, then slowly the songs from this album started surfacing out on the music scene and everyone started talking. The band went on to give several interviews everywhere to allow people to sink in this news and know for sure that they were actually on to release their 10th studio album…..!!!…..Wow, I, soon started to build my own A-Ha playlists from my vault and listening them with renewed happiness………….and finally in late 2015 they released this album Cast In Steel.
Here’s Under the Makeup…….they sound true to their mainstream pop sound for which they are famous for, and Morten’s golden voice still sizzles….
The album is an emotional album, natural for a band who has already passed a lot of time together and gone through lots in all these years as they have matured by leaps and bounds……and that is highlighted in their sounds they carry in opening songs like Cast in Steel and Wake.
Forest Fire and Objects in the Mirror are out-and-out pop songs with flowing beats and ambient keyboard routines, and the lyrics symbolically takes one in the past, look back as the time already past in a contemplative mood……much expected from a band already in their late 50’s…..brilliant in their sounds still.
Door Ajar and Mythomania are up next…..heavy pop sounds with signature drum routines with keyboard and haunting vocals of Morten, makes these two in the same league with Forest Fire.
It will not be wise to expect a band in their ’50s make the same kinda songs they made when they were in their ’20s, as they made Take On Me and many more. They have a more matured sound now and this album carries on the rhythm and sounds of their last album Foot of the Mountain.
The song End of the Affair is a surprise addition to the package, a much acoustic, indie alternative track, but done truly in A-Ha style. And it is one of my top favorites in this album.
This album will grow on the listeners with repeated plays, and the brilliance in their sound still remains, and Magne Furuholmen lives up to his reputation as the magician on the keyboard, as he has gifted us with countless examples of his capabilities through out all these years from hit albums like Hunting High and Low, Stay on these Roads, Scoundrel Days, Minor Earth Major Sky and many more. They have done it all, played it all and continue doing so, and that’s what fans stick around for, to get the music from their favorite bands over and over again.
Cast in Steel as a comeback album for a band already gone through couple of splits before, is a testament to their music making abilities which was once again seen at the Rio concert where they performed to packed houses. As fans we would not like to see iconic bands like A Ha calling it quits, we would love to have the music flow over and over again……..basking in the glory of those golden days of their music…….ending with their biggest hit till date, Take On Me.