Vocalist Per Oystein Sorensen raised the bridge for Fra Lippo Lippi to cross from desolate goth rock to a piano-laden amalgam of new wave and light jazz.
When Fra Lippo Lippi formed in Norway in the late '70s, the group seemed obsessed with the droning rhythms and morose lyrics of Joy Division. In fact, Fra Lippo Lippi's debut album In Silence was so bleak that it could've been mistaken for a Joy Division record. However, by Fra Lippo Lippi's second LP, Small Mercies, Sorensen's sweet tooth for pop began to brighten the band's somber mood. While Small Mercies was still a sad album, hooks and melodies started to penetrate the group's initially impermeable wall of gloom. On Songs, Sorensen found his voice -- and so did the band. No longer limiting himself to the ominous tones of Joy Division's Ian Curtis and Bauhaus' Peter Murphy, Sorensen's vocals became more soulful on Songs, equally capable of expressing joy ("Come Summer") or emotional resignation ("Coming Home"). The lyrics gained clarity as well. Fra Lippo Lippi ceased recording in the early '90s. However, in 2000, Fra Lippo Lippi performed in the Philippines, a country where the band landed numerous hits during the '80s. Sorensen has also worked with Trine Rein. ~ Michael Sutton, Rovi