Thing Called Love – Lian Gold (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Above & Beyond’s Thing Called Love rightly found a large audience amongst the pop pickers and denizens of the dance scene a decade ago, but just because a song already has such a firm following that doesn’t mean that it isn’t ripe for reinvention. And that is exactly what Lian Gold does with her latest release. But she is smart enough to know that within her reimagining of this stalwart track, there needs to be a certain amount of familiarity too. And it is this sure-footed line that she dances along perfectly, appealing to fans of the original whilst bringing new devotees into the fold too.

If the original had a certain amount of sonic rawness woven through its musical DNA, this new reworking opts for smoother lines and softer edges, bubbling where the original often chose to include more abrasive sounds and replacing the sonic crescendoes with seductive lulls.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that the track has been covered, any iconic song, especially within the dance world, is always going to have successive lives and sonic rebirths, but this is perhaps the first one to totally change the dynamic. Artists such as Oliver Helden and many others always seem to concentrate on pushing the highs even higher, to be more epic, more sky-searing, more euphoric. Where Lian Gold‘s version works so well is that she finds somewhere new to take the song, a more ambient place, relatively speaking, reminding us that the original was part of the trance scene in the first place.

She understands the power of understatement, of restraint, of musical seduction. Maybe it’s a girl thing. When the guys automatically try to make the song bigger, harder, more powerful, Gold opts for more delicate dalliances and makes more deft musical decisions. When they go high, she goes low… in a good way. And low here means that even amongst the busy beats there is plenty of space. Space for her vocal charms to really do their work, for the electronic riffs to stand out as counterpoint melodies, for the musical breakdowns to be even more effective, for the rhythms to beguile, for the techno-beats to hypnotize.

Where others go for the quick, throwaway hit, Lian Gold builds something as long-lasting and worthy as the original. Forget the saccharine highs and sonic self-aggrandisements of others who are happy to ride on the coattails of Above & Beyond’s reputation, here she builds something robust enough and original enough to stand on its own two feet.

It’s a great reworking of a great track. Imaginative beyond the template of the original, and like all successful covers it says as much about her as a musician, singer and creative as it does about the song-crafting skills of the original artist. Majestic, seductive and the perfect early hours dance-floor filler.

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