An Exciting Change of Direction For Finland’s #1 Rocking Guitarist.
As regular readers will know, I don’t read Press Releases
other reviews before listening to an album; for fear of being prejudiced; but I weakened a couple of weeks ago when my friend Iain at
bluesenthused.com reviewed this disc. He liked it but scared me by using the most fearsome four letter word that I can think of ….. P.R.O.G!
Two weeks later I can hear where he’s coming from (and Erja too); as this album is a distinct progression from her last album; but to my dodgy ears; I’m hearing a woman veering into the uncharted waters of Jazz Rock; none more so than opening track Snake in the Grass where our favourite Finnish Blues Rock star uses her voice as a virtual weapon; twisting and turning her vowels, while using her range to mystify and excite at the same time.
While the seamless slide guitar style that she is famous for has virtually disappeared, save for a cameo appearance via Sonny Landreth on Wedding Day; there’s still more than enough gutsy guitar on Cherry Overdrive and the brooding Hard as Stone to satisfy every air-guitarist out there; and it’s no surprise that Erja’s words and vocals are just as impressive as her meanderings on her electric guitar.
It’s probably the way that Erja uses her voice that points me towards that Jazz-Rock sensibility; but the way Another World and Miracle are constructed points us in that direction too…… but with the emphasis on the Rock end of this much maligned spectrum.
To a greater or lesser degree, the best is kept for last with the album closing with two absolute belters; Torn is an epic Rock Ballad with something in her fluid guitar solos that reminds me of Gary Moore at his peak; and then there is the finale, the slow and disconsolate Break My Heart Gently; a beautifully sorrowful tearjerker of the finest hue, and therefore the Official RMHQ Favourite Song on this fascinating album.
While I’m not hearing as much ‘Blues’ as I would have expected; and mercifully no ‘Prog’, but that’s no particular hardship as these songs all stand up for themselves; and I’m really excited at this new direction Erja Lyytinen is cruising off into, without needing to look over her shoulder.
Released April 26th 2019