Fra Lippo Lippi shed their skin on Songs. On Songs, Fra Lippo Lippi leave their gothic past behind, uncovering the pop heart beneath their morose perspective on life. The pulsating new wave beat and sunny chorus of "Come Summer" are exhilarating; "Come Summer" is the opening track on Songs, and it quickly establishes Fra Lippo Lippi's newfound appetite for upbeat melodies. Sad tunes still abound, but vocalist Per Oystein Sorensen expands the emotional scope of the lyrics. Instead of simply sounding depressed, Sorensen evolves into a soulful storyteller; his empathic voice vividly captures the joy and sorrow of the songs' lyrics. The listener can easily feel sympathy for the man pining for his late lover in "Shouldn't Have to Be Like That" and the woman who drowns herself in "Leaving." Musically, Fra Lippo Lippi proceed in the direction hinted at on their previous album, Small Mercies. Piano and synthesizer started becoming essential to Fra Lippo Lippi's style on Small Mercies, and they're promoted to a larger role on Songs. "Shouldn't Have to Be Like That" is elevated with uplifting synthesized hooks. On "The Distance Between Us," crestfallen piano buttresses the agony in Sorensen's voice; the moving keyboards on "Coming Home" sculpt the lyrics' profound resignation. On Songs, Fra Lippo Lippi have basically found themselves, and it's a discovery that is engaging and moving from beginning to end.
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AllMusic Review by Michael Sutton