'Across The Ice' is the third album by the German synthpop duo of Torsten Verlinden (vocals) and Steve Baltes (electronics) and they waste no time in getting down to business. Songs are slicker, vocals stronger than ever. It's albums like this that exemplify the difference in this type of electronic-based pop music from Europe vs. the United States. Here synthpop is still considered quirky, novelty and/or dance-oriented, while in Europe it is taken more seriously. (Not that Europeans don't care for the occasional wacky bit of electronica.) Arctic Sunrise is definitely in the more serious vein, and while not really dark, there is very little tongue-in-cheek. Philosophical themes tend to prevail on 'Across The Ice' - Life and Death; Love and Loss; Climate Change/Global Warming; Uncertainty of the Future, etc. Steve Baltes has become even more proficient and sophisticated at orchestrating Arctic Sunrise's sound, providing the best and most varied background possible for Torsten's vocals. For his part I believe Torsten has upped his game considerably in the vocal department with a bolder and more emotionally gripping performance than ever before. Standout tracks are "Surrender," "Stars," "Fly" and "Time Is On Our Side." I also like the instrumental "SSP84" which shows some diversity. There is also a cover of the Kate Bush chestnut, "Running Up That Hill" which I consider superfluous. It’s not that Arctic Sunrise do a poor job of covering it as it’s quite listenable, it’s just that they add nothing novel to the song. (Just recently Johnathan|Christian also covered the song on their 'Dark Hallways' album, and they didn't fare any better on my opinion.) Aside from that though, 'Across The Ice' is a worthy effort.