Avoiding the temptation to succumb to either ad hoc rock 'n roll extremism or infectious pop power ballad formulae, Carstens simply concentrates on singing songs.
Sure, the move towards a radio-friendly format may have some critics rushing to pigeonhole the 12 tracks as some kind of adult oriented album rock sell-out. Forget about it. The seamless succession of micro-observations on life as seen through the eyes of a singer songwriter who was never really at home with his iconic status makes for repeatedly rewarding listening. In fact, free from the vibrato and effects pedal-fuelled excesses that characterised late era Nude Girls, it's enthralling just hearing Arno's authentic voice for the first time.
With New Porn band of brothers, Albert Frost and Brendan Jury adding their own distinctive blues and classically inflected flavours to the mix, Arno roams freely between spine tingling rock ballads ("Boy", "Woman", "Another Universe"), rollicking jukebox anthems ("African Sunrise") and confessional acoustic odes ("Something We Started", "Neon Girl").
Whether Another Universe manages to catapult Arno back into the larger music buying public's consciousness is completely irrelevant. On frank 'n forthright commentaries on the fickle nature of fame ("Life's a Bitch", "Cooler Lifestyles") he manages to convince us that he's moved way beyond needing the affirmation of an adoring public anyway. Update on 26 May 04! Another Universe is nominated for three Sama Awards: Best Rock Album, Best Adult Contempory Album (English), Best Male Artist. And the album goes gold.
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