It has been a decade since Jarle Bernhoft sang his way into Norwegian music history with the hit song “C’mon Talk”. Creative use of looping and a voice that overflowed with soul quickly became a distinctive trademark. Since then, he has tested different versions of this term.
With Dancing on My Knees , he is in a more upbeat musical landscape. A place at the intersection of funk, soul and modern R&B. But the distinctiveness is still there.
“Dancing On My Knees” (Sony Music)
When he really hits, Bernhoft is funky, soulful and nice. On the opening track “Put Your Mojo On” he has just found the mojo. Fresh, funky and a song that Lenny Kravitz could make on a good day. The album alternates between soft soulpop, some ballads and the occasional funky case. Bernhoft is playful, plays almost all instruments himself and hits more often than he misses. His 80s flirts are not all the world’s. His mojo lies in the soul, the funk and the straight ballads. “Clearly Confused”, the album’s “Stay With Me” moment is a potential late night dancer.
He pays tribute to the sons and the child chaos in “Call Out Kids”, sings about messy love and loads in some places on a little too much bubbling creativity. But he is good when he gets furnished in a sensible way. “Say It Isn’t So” is a lot of emotion, and a nice melody. “Lazy Monday Morning” is such a leisurely, easy-going affair. And he is just that, Jarle Bernhoft – easy-going. “Dancing On My Knees” does not change that at all.