Musicfolio.com  Reviews & Recommendations
Alphaville
(Marian Gold & Co)

Home Gothic/Ethereal Synthpop/Newwave Industrial/EBM Charts/Releases Song-of-the-week

Artist Listing: A - F G - R S - Z
"The initial revelation of the band in 1982 was formed by founding members Marian Gold and Bernhard Lloyd, and keyboardist Frank Mertens. They toured under the band name 'Forever Young', until 1984 when the first single Big In Japan was released under a new band name inspired by Jean Luc Godard's 1965 movie: 'Alphaville'. Big In Japan was a smashing success all over Europe, and was followed by two exceptional singles, Sounds Like a Melody and Forever Young. The debut album Forever Young was released that same year, making Alphaville the most promising synthpop newcomers of 1984.

Alphaville released more than a handful of albums in the 80s and 90s but none of which compared to the sheer perfection of their debut. Forever Young remains the standard by which their subsequent releases will be compared to, and for that matter, the standard by which other masterpieces in the genre are evaluated.

In 1997 the original members Gold and Lloyd re-united along with guitarist/keyboardist Rick Echolette, producing an interesting 'back to the roots' album (Salvation), reminding us of some their strong moments on Forever Young."
-- DJ Avalanche, musicfolio.com, 7/02

 Alphaville Discography - Album / CD Reviews


****½ 1984: Forever Youngaudio

"... their first single Big In Japan became a big hit almost on the spot, entering the German Single charts at #9, peaked at #1 and stayed in the Top 20 for over 3 months. With it´s bombastic sound, it hitted the nerves of the New Romantic-generation, and the following album 'Forever Young' was entirely written in the same style featuring some similarites to the leading models from the UK. It also captured high positions in the German Album charts and reached notable sales throughout Europe, North America and Japan. All tracks are featuring the great arrangements, luxurious keyboard patterns and big drama in the lyrics with the exception of The Jet Set, a joyous tune with a lyrically wink of the eye. A remarkable fact was that they never toured to promote their albums in Alphavilles heydays, the last concert before 'Forever Young' was given on the last day of 1982 (under the band name 'Forever Young'), and they didn´t enter the stage then until 1993 - in Beirut (Lebanon)!"
-- 80sxchange.com

***¼ 1986: Afternoons In Utopiaaudio
"Beginning and ending with brief, atmospheric synthesizer instrumentals, their second album Afternoons In Utopia investigates somber but catchy synth-pop not unlike late Ultravox, including the title track and Red Rose. These are counterbalanced by more peculiar fare like the impenetrable Carol Masters and the intriguing, seven-minute Lassie Come Home. The singles Dance With Me and Fantastic Dream were club hits, but by the time of this album's 1986 release, synth-pop was no longer a chart concern, and Alphaville quickly faded from sight. "
-- epinions.com

1989: The Breathtaking Blue
"Crafted under the expert gaze of ex-Tangerine Dream-er Klaus Schulze, the third album from German trio Alphaville - who scored a fair-sized hit with Big in Japan in 1984 - is a highly polished cluster of glimmering technopop. Orchestrated by the dual keyboards of Bernhard Lloyd and Ricky Echolette, multi-octaved vocalist Marian Gold moves elegantly between booming, Blancmange-ish balladry (Romeos, Summer Rain and She Fades Away), dreamy, jazz-toned chiaroscuro on Heaven and Helland Anyway, before losing his head completely and careering off on Ariana - a gloriously camp imitation of Virginia Plain period Roxy Music - and Middle Of The Riddle, a torrid tongue-twister with a teasingly surreal hook. Clever, without being soullessly clinical, the overall effect is accessible and often breathtaking."
-- Graeme Kay, Q Magazine, 6/89

****¼ 1992: First Harvestaudio
Alphaville's greatest hits collection covering the early years 1984-1992.

1994: Prostituteaudio
"When 80s heroes Alphaville suddenly returned out of the blue in 1994, nobody really expected a successful comeback, though there was a pre-released track named Fools climbing the German airplay charts and a video running on MTV. Alphaville’s fans, who had been waiting since 1989 for new stuff, just didn’t get along with the new songs Gold, Lloyd and Echolette had written: of course there were some brilliant radio pop songs again (especially Faith and The Impossible Dream), but for the masses there was too much desperation (Parade, All In The Golden Afternoon) and negativity in the new songs (Beethoven is about Nazi attacks in Germany in `92/`93). In reality, Prostitute is one of Alphaville’s best albums containing masterpieces as The Paradigm Shift or Oh Patti. Songs like Ascension Day, Euphoria and Apollo sound like perfect early-90s techno pop; but you better skip the ridiculous Some People."
Sebastian Kusserow, for musicfolio.com, 7/03

***½ 1997: Salvation
"Now there is a new Alphaville album on the shelves and 'Salvation' is a brave attempt by the band to merge their lyrical and soft-goth music with the sounds and styles of late-Nineties dance and pop. Their songs are still stirring and swirling with the drum machine pumping out a hectic flow of beats. Flame is the first single, a yearning ballad that grows to an arms-waving conclusion, Wishful Thinking, Point Of Know Return (sic) and Inside Out are more representative of the Alphaville sound. For committed Alphaville fans (and there are tons!) or those who still miss the pomp of Queen. "
-- Stephen "Sugar" Segerman, Amuzine, cd.co.za

***¾ 2000: Star Naked and Absolutely Live audio
"(...) Blissfully, perfectly, wonderfully dated in a way that spells timeless. The one thing that Alphaville truly has going for them is the fact that they are a historical footnote in '80s New Wave synth-pop history. That kernel of credibility has allowed them to maintain a Cerebrus-like, three-headed existence in music for almost 20 years.
(...) Stark Naked and Absolutely Live's most "essential" quality is that synth-pop bands just aren't supposed to sound so good live. This is on the level of perfection for live sound that only Depeche Mode's 101 tops in the realm of techno music. Although this is a "compilation" version of a live album, with the best tracks culled from massive archives of live recordings and put together almost seamlessly to create the illusion of a live show, the album doesn't suffer much from knowing that up front.
(...) The album doesn't rest on the laurels of Alphaville's '80s hits either, although the requisite versions of Big in Japan and Forever Young are certainly included in this set. Songs like Monkey in the Moon, Flame, Guardian Angel, and Wishful Thinking come off of their most recent releases, but sound as simultaneously old and wonderfully fresh as the rest of the album."
-- Patrick Schabe, PopMatters.com

*** 2003: Crazyshow
"The follow-up to Alphaville's Dreamscapes 8CD box set (released in 1999 and covering their first two decades of existence 78-98) is titled Crazyshow [Dreamscapes 9-12], a 4CD box set including rare and unreleased material, as well as new songs. The boxset includes all of the songs made available in mp3 format as exclusive free downloads on Alphaville's website between 2000 and 2001.
Organic music elements are an integral part of Crazyshow as opposed to the pure electronic pop music Alphaville pioneered almost two decades ago. Marian's voice is as exquisite as ever, but the overall ambiance of Crazyshow is in fact that of "dream-escapes", touching mostly on the softer side of rock. Similarities might be drawn to Roxy Music's body of work, especially on a track like Still Falls the Rain. Incidentally, Marian Gold pays homage to Roxy Music by covering their song Do The Strand on CD10. A panoply of different music styles is covered, with the almost Rolling Stone-esque Hurricane, a cover of George Harrison's Something (CD11), and a dive into experimental trip-hop on the 9:00min title track, which Alphaville pulls off brilliantly. In fact Crazyshow the song, and Carry Your Flag are highlights of this offering.
This boxset is appropriately targeted at the die-hard fans with a limited web-only release of 2500 copies worldwide, 252 min of playtime and 32 pages of cover booklet. Lots of material for aficionados to rejoice about, not a place for the novice to embark on the Alphaville train... Crazyshow offers only a few pop hit reworks for the masses and is not intended to climb the charts like 'Forever Young' once did."
-- Said Sukkarieh, musicfolio.com, 6/03

**½ 2010: Catching Rays On Giant
Tracklisting: 01 – Song For No One 02 – I Die For You Today 03 – End Of The World 04 – The Things I Didn’t Do 05 – Heaven On Earth (The Things We’ve Got To Do) 06 – The Deep 07 – Call Me 08 – Gravitation Breakdown 09 – Carry Your Flag 10 – Call Me Down 11 – Phantoms 12 – Miracle Healing
"All the years Alphaville didn't have a contract, Marian made quite experimental music and came up with innovative and creative concepts such as using a Web site as central means not only for communication but also for music discussion (distribution and discussion of demos) and music distribution (sales of DS and CS)...remember, most of this was well before the age of myspace and iTunes and is still quoted as early mover / best practice in the industry today! In chats and interviews, he always expressed by how lame, commercial and purely evil the industry was, how much freedom Alphaville's autonomous situation gave them, and Alphaville really got increasing credit as an alternative/underground project that is more about art than about business. Now he is back to a) a major label, b) the standard distribution channels, c) the standard production processes (little fan input, little to no demos or online previews, etc.), d) a VERY commercial sound (by the way, Sputnik Roadhouse, the long-announced all-star art project with Klaus Schulze, Effjot Krüger, et al, is officially dead by now...the Web site is redirected to the Catching Rays On Giant-part of Alphaville's site) and e) tells everyone in interviews that the whole independent / alternative thing of the last thirteen years was not so much an artistic decision but one out of sheer need because nobody would give Alphaville a new contract, while he praises the major label(s) for the "great creative and working conditions". Also, he tells everyone that he doesn't care much about success when writing/producing songs, while 'Catching Rays On Giant' is so obviously made for the charts that it seems to prove this wrong. "
Streetside Romeo, alphaville.org forum, 12/10
______

Recommended Links:

Alphaville's official site
Alphaville: Cosmic Meadows
Alphaville: The Jet Set Society USA
Alphaville Portal - The Dreamroom
 
Similar Artists:

Marian Gold | A-Ha | Duran Duran | Depeche Mode | The Human League | OMD | Ultravox

Musicfolio Home | Gothic/Ethereal | Synthpop/NewWave | Industrial/EBM
Charts | Lyrics/Poetry | Links | Contact Us | Advertising
Copyright © 1999-2012 - musicfolio.com - All Rights Reserved