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Jartse Tuominen - Northern Lights CD (album) cover

NORTHERN LIGHTS

Jartse Tuominen

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.00 | 4 ratings

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lucas
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars When top-notch musicanship meets catchy and memorable melodies

Jartse Tuominen is an accomplished guitarist who started his solo career at the end of the 1990's. 'Northern lights' is his second record, and the material proposed here (AOR [read "melodic rock"] declined in several styles ' see detailed review further on) contrasts with another record, aptly entitled 'progressive' (a progressive and complex musical tour de force) released by Jartse around the same time. On to 'Northern Lights': we have here a collection of songs that overall give a flair of AOR to the album, but that are covered with different musical sauces : - Instrumental rock/jazz-rock with the 3 instrumental tracks (the opening track, "Introducing", in the vein of Simon Phillips' projects with Steve Lukather or Derek Sherinian, "the loner", which is a little tribute to Gary Moore ' without looking at the credits you recognize instantly Phil Lynott's long-time friend's phrasing, and finally the light and jazzy closing track "northern lights", with its first and last quarters lead by bass (Patrick O'Hearn comes to mind with his ambient stuff) and guitar touches reminiscent of Joe Satriani's "I believe", a song which had, what a coincidence!, Simon Phillips on drums. - Pop, first on "ghost of love" with its superb and delicate female vocals and memorable chorus. Then on "on the other side", with intonation of vocals reminding Joey Tempest of Europe. - Hard rock/southern rock on "Over", an upbeat midtempo song with male vocals reminiscent at times Glenn Hughes, at others Danny Joe Brown of Molly Hatchett fame. - Folk-rock on "Inca Princess" with theatrical male vocals. - Arena rock/AOR, first on "Hearts on parole" where strong male vocals alternate with raspy Bonnie Tyler'esque female vocals. The guitar line in the chorus is reminiscent of TOTO's "hold the line", a liquid Hammond B3 comes in the bridge. Then on "Love me, hate me" with female vocals that could be placed somewhere between Janis Joplin and Doro's aggressive singing styles. - Soul in "Never enough" with funky guitar picks, brass section, saxophone, Hammond B3 all along, congas, and vocals praising like in a gospel song. - Prog-rock on "Miracle Man", with processed vocals not far from the Beatles ("blue jay way"), and Genesis ("grand parade of lifeless packaging") in the introduction and Pink Floyd ("waiting for the worms") in the conclusion, and the right balance between straightforward rhythm and more tortuous ones, like on Spock's Beard albums.

What strikes in the album is the diversity of material but also the diversity of vocals (4 lead vocalists in all). Jartse's guitar can be heard all along the album, but is never overwhelming, rather always giving directions to the song and in harmony with the band.

This album is full of catchy melodies, and lifts the spirits. This would be a shame not to listen to it.

lucas | 5/5 |

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