Plane Groovy 2012
A-level – from ASIA to Aguilera: two million-selling hitmakers cut the rug on the retro-groove dancefloor.
“A” in the acronym of this duo’s name stands for “Association”, and the names of Geoff Downes and Chris Braide are mostly associated with successful tunes, the latter smitten by the former’s “Video Killed The Radio Star” as a kid. Since then, Braide has become a songwriter whose credits include Lana Del Rey and David Guetta, while Downes moved on from THE BUGGLES to YES, and here’s a union to challenge his partnership with John Wetton for prog-streaked confectionery.
Still, albeit ASIA aficionados will find many a familiar formula on DBA’s debut, first of all on “The Superfortress”, the nine pieces on offer have a dance air about them – not as elusively light as Geoff’s solo records and not as attention-seeking as Chris’ chart-stealers, with 13-minute opener “Sunday News Suite”, which pitches a catchy beat onto new age passages and bleeds into other tracks, a perfect combination of both masters’ styles.
It’s a nostalgic kind of romanticism with a sweet ’80s patina all over the tunes and arrangements, where Braide’s mellifluous voice plays Tennant to Downes’ harmonic Lowe, especially on “Sky Sailor” that turns suburban ennui to a dreamlike, organ-smeared ballad, and celestial glimmer of songs like “Islands” goes hand in hand with such mundane matters as fish and chips. The same aloof Englishness carries on the emotions of “Songs That Can Heal”, yet “Live For The Moment” lets warm sun into its synthetic haze, whereas in the aching “Ride The Waves” gentle piano and heartfelt vocals infuse simple love plea with immense spirituality. So although DBA also means “doing business as”, this time it’s a real deal.