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Haikara - Iso Lintu CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

2.70 | 17 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars The highly acclaimed Finnish prog group HAIKARA confronted the dilemma between artistic ambitions and commercial demands, when their 2nd album Geafar (1974) didn't sell well enough to please the record company. Left without a deal, they found a new opportunity after Vesa Lattunen had made arrangements for Jukka Kuoppamäki's album. The popular singer had his own record company, Satsanga Records. Iso Lintu was recorded in March 1975 with a new vocalist, Matti Heinänen, in the line-up. The album received mixed feelings at the time, and basically that hasn't changed in nearly 40 years.

'Hotellinainen' (Hotel woman) sounds nearly terrible: hard and gritty, riff-based rock finished with bad vocals and noisy saxes. 'Kuinka ollakaan' is also rather straight-forward rock song, but the brief orchestration, flute and an instrumental part make it very interesting. In under five minutes (still the longest track of the album) it's extremely economic prog! Actually, nearly half of the songs are less than three minutes; the total length is about 31 minutes. 'Romanssi' is a melancholic and romantic nocturnal song with a very elegant arrangement, especially various wind instruments are put in excellent use. Beautiful, classically influenced prog!

'2+2=5' may also have a nice arrangement, but the repetition of "kaksi ynnä kaksi on viisi!" is irritating. I'm not sure whether I like 'Leppäkerttu' (Lady Bug) or not. It has some prog rock feel in a naiive, tight song structure. 'Golgata' I definitely don't like as a whole, which is a pity since it contains some very nice details within three minutes. Maybe the vocals make it bad to my ears.

'Für Hanna' is a tiny pretty art music piece, or at least an attempt to be one; the percussion is not credible at all, but so what, this is a rock album anyway. 'Aamu' is a beautiful highlight the same way as 'Romanssi', and the final song 'Jäähyväiset' (Farewell) is perhaps the album's finest fusion of art music and pop music elements. So, this album is indeed very uneven. It includes beautiful stuff for a measure of an EP / mini-album.

As bonuses in the 2013 CD release one gets all four songs (by Vesa Lattunen & Company) of the 1979 EP called Lauluja Dylanilta (Songs by [Bob] Dylan). Wasn't 'Mighty Quinn' covered by Manfred Mann? The synths in this translation sound very Mannish. 'All Along the Watchtower' has seen numerous covers from Hendrix to Affinity etc, but it has never been among my personal Dylan favourites, despite its intensity. Lattunen & Co. do a decent job musically, but the vocals are quite bad, maybe the translation as well. 'North Country Blues' was not a familiar song to me. Here its good translation is sung by Liisa Lampi - why I haven't heard of her before? An excellent folk performance à la Joan Baez! 'When the Ship Comes In' was neither familiar. As a song it resembles 'Times They Are A-Changin' and this version featuring both male and female vocals makes me remember The Seekers.

The fifth bonus track 'Janne' was Lattunen's composition for a yearly Finnish song contest (Syksyn Sävel) in 1980. It's about Jean Sibelius, whose Finlandia hymn is also cited in the music. This song may be a bit kitchy cross-over entertainment music, but quite charming! With these bonuses Iso Lintu is without a doubt worth three stars.

Matti | 3/5 |


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