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(34 min, Mellow)
TRACK LIST: 1. Viisauden Alku 4:29 2. Joutsenten Kaihoisa Jaulu 6:37 3. Siipirikon Lento 3:50 4. Vapahtaja 5:06 5. Pimelista Pohjolasta 5:01 6. Lohdatus 1:50 7. Ajasta Ikuisuuteen 8:03 All tracks: by Timoniemi & Pesala. Produced by Timoniemi. LINEUP: Jani Timoniemi - guitars & bass Panu Koskela - drums Eini Pesala - viola Anni Pesala - flute With: Jukka Jokikokko - bass Timo Kuukasjaarvi - Hammond Mika Pohjola - Moog
Prolusion. Like many of Finland's contemporary progressive formations, SCARLET THREAD is under contract with the Italian (international, though) Mellow label. They have been around since 1995, but "Psykedeelisia Joutsenlauluja" is their only official CD thus far. I also know that the band is still in the ranks, though only one of the musicians, whose names you can see above, remains in their current lineup. This is Jani Timoniemi.
Analysis. Only three of the four musicians, credited in the principal lineup, play throughout this album: guitarist / bassist Jani Timoniemi, drummer Panu Koskela and violinist Eini Pesala. Flutist Anni Pesala appears only on two tracks, Joutsenten Kaihoisa Jaulu and Vapahtaja, but even here, her contribution to the music is insignificant. Keyboards are featured also on two compositions, Ajasta Ikuisuuteen and Vapahtaja, rarely being at the fore of the arrangements on either. The principal events develop between electric and acoustic guitar, violin, bass and drums. Timoniemi typically lays down a foundation bass track with the rest of the trio, and then overdubs his varied leads, creating a rather multi-layered picture. There is nothing psychedelic about "Psykedeelisia Joutsenlauluja", with the exception of the short piece Lohdatus, which sounds much like an excerpt from Rush circa "Caress of Steel". The music is an original Art-Rock, having little to do with the genre's most widespread (symphonic) manifestations, and is very good, not in the last place because of amusing violin intermezzos. Although the violin is one of the essential instruments here, being played in the traditions of folk music it doesn't possess a distinctive symphonic sense, which is certainly of benefit to the freshness of the band's overall sound, moving them away from the beaten paths of the genre. Most of the arrangements appear to be both moderately intense and complex, weaving through many moods, and only those on the second track, Joutsenten Kaihoisa Jaulu, have a more mellow flowing quality to them, but not in a bad way.
Conclusion. The Rock component is laid in the basis of each piece, but it would've been better had it been more pronounced. I mean, the use of guitar riffs (only not in the way they appear on the infected Lohdatus) would have provided the stuff with a more driving sound, though all of these remarks concern my personal taste. In any event, "Psykedeelisia Joutsenlauluja" is a pretty enjoyable album.
VM: September 15, 2005
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