The first couple of Croatian pop have recorded occasionally trough 1960s and 1970s but this is their first (and only) genuinely duet album, which is strange because they were often perceived as a package deal, ArsenandGabi. Musical influence was mutual - if in the voice of his wife Arsen Dedić found perfect sound for his elegant chansons, Gabi Novak herself metamorphosed into sophisticated artist trough husband's top shelf repertoire. However, it must be noted that they both welcomed and encouraged collaborations with other artists, this album being a perfect example of that.
"Gabi & Arsen" is a very classy affair, perhaps a statement about themselves as artists - as they successfully weathered two decades in business, couple found themselves in a comfortable position where competition was not necessary anymore and they were established enough to enjoy view from the top. Recorded in Ljubljana with Slovenian producer Dečo Žgur at the helm, this album is sort of their Slovenian excursion - Mojmir Sepe, Jure Robežnik and Jože Privšek pops up as composers, while Dušan Velkaverh and Andrej Šifrer join as lyricists (along with songs by Kemal Monteno, Marina Tucaković, Željko Sabol, Rajko Dujmić and even poet Dobriša Cesarić). It is very endearing collection of warm, soft pop that explores dynamics between two musicians - as expected Novak pulls most of the vocal duties, while husband gently murmurs in the background, their chemistry and affection clearly audible. If there is one small complain - and this is purely my personal impression that takes nothing away from musical pleasure - is that couple occasionally sounds very middle aged and settled into "everything is behind us already" mode, when in fact they were in their early forties and have been married only a decade. However, the beauty they create together is undisputed and the poetic way they praise each other wrinkles is truly memorable. Perhaps it didn't bring any hits but this little gem is a thrill for the fans of both artists.