Ace Of Base: The Bridge (London 529 655)

THEY MAY have sold 19 million copies of their debut album, Happy Nation, but the Swedish boy-girl quartet is still a long way from justifying the “new Abba” tag. Unfortunately, The Bridge is not going to help much.

Although the new album is streets ahead of the debut in its musical themes and production values, they have tried to reposition themselves too quickly in the pure pop market, a notoriously fickle place at the best of times.

The result is a surfeit of slow, reflective ballads such as ‘Raving’, ‘Angel Eyes’ and ‘Edge of Heaven’, some spiced with a hint of a reggae rhythm, and sundry other songs which strive too hard for an “adult” feel. Although infinitely preferable to the pneumatic dancefloor beat of Beautiful Life, they all lack the knockout choruses and bright, unselfconscious fizz of Ace Of Base’s biggest hits.

© David SinclairThe Times, 8 December 1995

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