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Berlin Airlift - 1982 Berlin Airlift

ARTIST: Berlin Airlift
ALBUM: Berlin Airlift
LABEL: Handshake
YEAR: 1982


LINEUP: Rick Berlin - lead vocals, keyboards * Jane Balmond - keyboards, vocals * Steven Paul Perry - guitars, vocals * Chet Cahill - bass, vocals * Joe Petruzelli - percussion, drums, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Airlift * 02 Teenage Terror * 03 It's You I Love * 04 There's A Girl In The Moon * 05 Can I Fall In Love * 06 This Is Your Life * 07 Don't Stop Me From Cryin' * 08 Over The Hill * 09 My Heart Ain't Big Enough For You * 10 I Hate Everything But You

Berlin Airlift had its origin in the project Orchestra Luna, who had released an orchestrally flavoured album for Epic in 1974. Evolving into Luna, the band cut an album for Cleveland International (Meat Loaf, Jim Steinman etc.), but the album got shelved and the band managed a mere single ('Hollywood') under the name of Luna, before finally finding a home with Handshake Records (Alliance, Van Stephenson, Nightplane, Allies etc.), this time with the band monicker Berlin Airlift.

The Songs
Finding its foundation in the songwriting - and vocal talents of Rick Berlin, Berlin Airlift forged a rather eclectic and unique sound. The song 'Airlift' starts off the album in a fairly straightforward fashion, with a rather lush, but ambitious arrangement - a song that fits its title! 'Teenage Terror' is perhaps a little closer to the true nature of Berlin Airlift, diving right into a bouncy piano theme with slightly manic vocals to top it off. The fact that the lyrics look at a father-teenage daughter relation from the father's perspective, also hints to Rick Berlin's abilities as a lyricist - always with the somewhat unexpected take on things! Musically, this reminds me of what Cheap Trick could have been like if they had had a regular keyboardist in their line-up ... or The Tubes with pomp rock arrangements? As you shall see, no comparisons quite cover it when it comes to Berlin Airlift! 'It's You I Love' features energetic, piano driven verses, countered by softer pre-choruses and choruses, all to wonderful effect. 'There's a Girl in the Moon' evolves from a synth/piano/vocoder-driven intro into a manic report about why yellow cheese and women have lots in common. Covering a wide variety of various musical themes, Berlin Airlift mercilessly drive this mini-epos home at breakneck pace - big vocals, big arrangements, but probably well on the quirky side for some! 'Can I Fall in Love?' delves into more sombre territory and Rick Berlin contributes some heartfelt, powerful vocals without ever giving us the big syrup treatment. Steven Paul Perry's guitar solo on this one is also really classy!

'This Is Your Life' finds Berlin Airlift in manic mode again, featuring some nifty piano-guitar interplay, and as usual switching between a variety of musical themes that flow so well you'd never notice them unless you sat down to pick them out. The lyrics are also characteristically quirky, and the tune builds towards an increasingly intense ending - short, but definitely sweet! 'Don't Stop Me From Cryin' seems to want to counter 'This Is Your Life' with a pretty straightforward chorus beginning, but within the next 30 or so seconds, the band musically criss-cross 2-3 further musical motives, including a cool, guitar driven verse and the cool 'sad movies, they take me away'-bridge. Again with the feel of a mini-epos packed into 3 minutes and 46 seconds. 'Over the Hill' is more of the same, with a deceptively straightforward and almost syrupy chorus, but all the verses and small musical diversions built around it add up to a perfectly balanced entirety. For 'My Heart Ain't Big Enough For You', the guitar kicks in with a little more oomph, sandwiching itself in between the bouncy piano parts. Not counting a measly little verse modulation and the quite lyrically intense bridge, this tune actually features a somewhat simpler song structure ... but of course compensates with an extended ending, showcasing the band's musical dexterity ... darnit! :-) The final track, 'I Hate Everything About You' lets rip, albeit in the Berlin Airlift sense of the phrase, meaning we're treated to a flurry of musical parts, solos and vocal stunts - intense and surprisingly raw for something so obviously well played ... and dead efficient, I might add!

In Summary
All in all, 'Berlin Airlift' is not an easy album to describe: It showcases a musical concept with a highly individual sound, incorporating elements of pomp rock, hard rock, new wave and pop. It comes highly recommended to those with an ear for the adventurous, but is probably best approached with caution for those who like their melodic rock conventional.

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#1 | richardb on June 08 2008 08:52:57
Great album and a great review. The follow up 'Professionally damaged' is also well worth checking out.

Richard B
#2 | Eric on June 08 2008 13:38:50
Yup. Not as nifty as Orchestra Luna, but a fine record with a lot of quirk.
#3 | gdazegod on December 31 2010 07:31:52
It's hard work listening to this album in one sitting. Quirky is an understatement!

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