Runaway - Carola

Date: 1986
Label:
Universal
Full track listing coming soon

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Reviews
Nicholas James

After completing three Robin Gibb solo albums between 1983 and 1985, Maurice and Robin Gibb turned their attentions to a young Swedish singer called Carola, little known outside of her own country. It is significant that, other than the fact that it wasn't Robin Gibb on lead vocals, it was generally business as usual for the two brothers who, in common with the previous albums, would co-write most of the songs with Maurice taking the production reins.

Maurice and Robin seem to have a talent for ensuring that each new album that they produced in this creative period in their careers was always very different from the previous album. The romantic synth-pop of the How Old Are You album became the techno-pop of Secret Agent which itself morphed into the softer pop/rock sound of Walls Have Eyes. With Runaway, Maurice and Robin moved into the Euro-zone, with an electronic, but often very sultry album, making the best use of Carola's powerful voice.

If you can get past the slightly dated 1980s production (and this isn't really a criticism - Maurice was experimenting with a truly contemporary sound), this is an album you will enjoy, and it stands up to repeated listens very well. The first single, 'The Runaway', is a hugely catchy track to a stomping synthesized back beat, with a loud, uplifting chorus. The follow-up single, 'Brand New Heart', is almost as good, a soft, melodic ballad with nice backing vocals from Robin and Maurice. Another stand-out track, again with very noticeable Robin and Maurice backing vocals, is 'Nature of the Beast', an infectious song you will be humming all day. 'Spread Your Wings (For Your Love)' has a very dominant Maurice Gibb vocal, which is almost a lead vocal on the chorus, again a simple, but nonetheless catchy pop song. Several of the other Robin and Maurice composed tracks, however, are less memorable, and perhaps rely too much on loud instrumentation, thumping drum beats and loud vocals: 'Radiate', '(We Are) Atomic' and 'Everlasting Love' (not to be confused with the superior Andy Gibb hit 'An Everlasting Love') fall into this category, but are still genuinely enjoyable songs.

Two of the songs were co-written by Barry Gibb, and these are both excellent cuts. 'Lost In The Crowd' is a beautifully constructed, sad love song, that would not be out of place on a Bee Gees album. But perhaps the best track of all is the phenomenal 'When Two Worlds Collide', which has all three Gibb brothers writing at their best, an up-tempo track with a killer chorus.

Sadly, this rather good album was not released outside Sweden, Norway and West Germany. It was certainly advertised as a forthcoming release in the United Kingdom - rumours at the time suggested that Carola decided to leave the pop world and moved heavily into religion, resulting in the future promotion of the album being shelved. Whether that had anything to do with its non-appearance in major markets will perhaps never be known, and Carola certainly returned to pop music shortly after, even winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 1991. Nevertheless, this is a fine album, and one that concluded an artistically high quality run of four albums for the Gibb twins. On completing this album, Robin and Maurice would rejoin Barry as they commenced work on what would be the first full Bee Gees album for six years...sadly, Robin and Maurice would never produce an album together again. That is a big shame.

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