gullbuy music review



Merry Lines in the Sky


LTM Records


Berntholer CD coverThis Belgian group from the early 80s is primarily known for the song My Suitor. The song went on to sell 10,000 copies as a 12 single.

It has been covered by numerous acts (even prompting a cover contest on Belgian radio), the most recent of which was Figurine.

The song is said to have originated by Albanian-born singer Drita Kotaji after obsessively listening to the contemporary minimalist Flemish composer, Wim Mertens' band, Soft Verdict's song At Home. The song is clearly derived from Wim Mertens' early works with its haunting recurring melody produced by acoustic piano and cello coupled with Drita's heavily-accented English vocals. It is a classic of Belgian New Wave. Wim Mertens later went to arrange a piece for Bernthøler, Pardon Up Here, which builds on the sound of My Suitor.

Bernthøler produced no album, this disc is a compilation of their single releases. Their sound is marked by Drita's vocals and the band's lack of percussion. The band was composed of keyboards, bass and guitar. Lunacies, Emotions, Japanese Garden and The Others are more wonderful tracks that bear the influence of early songs by The Cure in their melodies.

The middle part of the disc becomes a bit more folky in sound, with boy/girl vocals on You Grabbed Me By the Hand and Private Hotel (which sounds like the prior song turned inside out). The other songs on the album go in more of a lo-fi Jazzy direction. For many, I think this will be an important purchase for the first five songs, each of which are stimulating and unique.

This enhanced CD gathers together all Bernthøler studio recordings made between 1983 and 1985, and also includes video clips for My Suitor, Exterior Nuit and The Choice.

---George Kilgoar III, September 28, 2004