Laban - 1986 Caught By Surprise

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited August 2 in year-1986

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ARTIST: Laban (Denmark)
ALBUM: Caught By Surprise
LABEL: Mega Records
SERIAL: MRLP 3019
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: Reissue List..

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

LINEUP: Lecia Jonsson - vocals * Ivan Pedersen - vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Love In Siberia * 02 Donna Donna * 03 Now And Forever * 04 Let Me Know * 05 It's A Fantasy * 06 Caught By Surprise * 07 Ca-Me-Camera * 08 Gimme You Name, Gimme Your Number * 09 Ch Ch Cherie * 10 Radio

Background

Thanks to Daz, one of the GDM regulars, I had the pleasure of listening to a Danish duo Laban, a group who espouse everything that is 80's synth pop!

Though the decade was pock-marked with synth outfits such as Pet Shop Boys and New Order, it was those outfits with melodic tendencies that really stole the show for me.

Europe had A-Ha while America had a few contenders too, but when you look and listen to Laban, the current state of musical demise pales into insignificance when you wind the clock back and listen to this female/male combination.

Laban are the combination of Lecia Jonsson and Ivan Pedersen. The pair had been in operation sinced the early 80's, and released four Danish speaking albums prior to 1986's international release 'Caught By Surprise'.

Prior to the worldwide release, the album was released as a Danish only album called 'Kun Et Sekundt' ('Just A Second'). Distributed initially by Mega Records, it was followed by a re-recorded English speaking effort by the German label Ariola.

It's bouncy, poppy, melodic (near sugary in places), but damn it's full of awesome keyboards, neat arrangements and rich vocal melodies. You wouldn't call it AOR as such, but when something this melodic runs past my ears then it's worth writing up.

The Songs

Laban struck success with the initial single 'Love In Siberia'. It went into the US and UK top 100 for several weeks during 1986.

It is a striking melodic tune which really should have taken the duo onto huge success. Pedersen's vocals are actually higher than Jonsson's - which (excuse the pun) 'caught me by surprise'!

Other singles released the super trippy/poppy 'Donna Donna', the upbeat 'Ch-Ch-Cherrie' and the near AOR title track 'Caught By Surprise' with its clean keyboard lines reminding us of Drama's 'Scene From A Distance' the year before.

Elsewhere, Jonsson and Pedersen share the vocal on 'Now And Forever', where the female line sounds very much a pop version of Tone Norum.

'Let Me Know' moves into fellow Danes Michael Learns To Rock territory, very funky.

'It's A Fantasy' is a lightweight ballad which invokes comparisons to Swedish superstars ABBA, the mandolin lines will have you comparing this track to 'Fernando' I'm sure!

In Summary

Because of the success of this album, the duo were able to release a second international album in 1987 called 'Roulette'. According to Wikipedia (or whoever wrote the article), 'Roulette' is a rockier album when compared to 'Caught By Surprise'.. apparently.

If that is the case, then I am definitely interested. Have a nosey around on Ebay, I'm pretty certain you'll find a CD copy lying around somewhere. Pick it up - with a recommendation from GDM!


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