Huge pictures of the aging Morten Harket, Pal Waaktaar and Magne Furuholmen gaze thoughtfully down from billboards across Moscow, serving as a sort of reminder that in just 10 years the same fate awaits the modern boy bands. Without their ridiculous '80s haircuts, the members of A-Ha are not easily recognizable, for they just recently reappeared after a decade-long absence. However, this Norwegian trio is trying the best they can to present themselves as more than just the ghost of a successful '80s new-wave group.
Their 2000 album, "Minor Earth Major Sky" and the following tour, although savaged by critics, were successful enough to spur on the group's revival and cultivate an aura of nostalgia for the long-lost A-Ha and for '80s synth-pop in general. They are more popular now than in the early '90s. After the flop of their 1990 album "East of the Sun, West of the Moon" and, later, the ignored 1993 "Memorial Beach," A-Ha became the symbol of everything that was out of fashion. Furuholmen was forced to turn to art and take up painting, while Waaktaar tried writing solo pieces for soundtracks and even released an album.
A-Ha now has two producers, who have assisted similar '80s hitmakers like Elvis Costello and the Pet Shop Boys to re-establish themselves, helping to add a bit of modern sound processing and commercial know-how. And, even though A-Ha's latest album "Lifelines" is no musical breakthrough, it came out right when it should have, giving the band a good reason to satisfy those that are really just longing for the good old stuff: their remake of "Crying in the Rain" and, of course, the all-time hit "Take on Me." Catch A-Ha at Olympiisky Stadium on June 23.