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Lighthouse Sparrows - The Deep End CD (album) cover

THE DEEP END

Lighthouse Sparrows

 

Neo-Prog

3.98 | 8 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
4 stars LIGHTHOUSE SPARROWS is a collaboration between two long-time professional musicians, Sami Sarhamaa (guitars, bass, vocals, additional keys) and Olli Huhtanen (vocals, keys). This 30-minute debut features also Miri Miettinen on drums and Trio Tingo's backing vocals. Huhtanen has worked as a film composer and sound designer, and in his work he has often crossed paths with Sarhamaa, who is better known in Finnish prog circles. He was one of the three central figures in the instrumentally oriented band KATAYA, which is a fairly good comparison for this music even though all of the five tracks here feature vocals. In the early 80's Sarhamaa was in a prog band called Chapter One, and he has also released ambient albums Scapes & Tracks (2009) and Trails of Mist (2013) under the pseudonym Sam Marsala. And in the Heavy Prog category there's LIQUID WOLF led by Sarhamaa.

In July 2019 Lighthouse Sparrows (a suitable name indeed, even though the music soars more like a swallow than a modest sparrow) was born, and the two "started writing music instantly. Would it be progressive rock, art rock or something else? We decided just to let things flow with no limitations whatsoever." They didn't want to feel any pressure since both were kept busy by their own work too -- until other projects were cancelled due to the certain virus. They withdrew into their own studios and kept in touch virtually. But now into the music. Neo-Prog is a valid category, but perhaps it's easier to find similar styled acts from Crossover Prog. Although Sarhamaa's Kataya partner Matti Kervinen is not involved, I sense some kindred spirit also to Kervinen's other projects PAX ROMANA and SUNHILLOW. The music is spatial, atmospheric and melodic, easy just to sit back and enjoy. The certain Pink Floyd flavour is obvious but not derivative.

'Gravest Danger' is a perfect example of combining the accessible, melodic "deep pop" sensibility with an excellent production and musicianship full of progressive nuances and deep ambiences. The duo's experience in film music has certainly affected the result in a good way. Throughout the brief album keyboards and guitars build sophisticated and multi-layered soundscapes. Undoubtedly the music would work pretty well as completely instrumental, in the Kataya style, but the vocals add another dimension. Occasionally they remind me of (not only the mentioned Matti Kervinen but also) Guy Manning -- when he's not so close to Ian Anderson.

All of the five songs are very good. They are kept quite economical in length (the longest is only 7:11), so don't expect symphonically meandering Neo-Prog. Lots of fine instrumental soloing you do hear though. Maybe the best piece is 'Gravity' -- yes, the longest one -- that finishes the album with a beautiful and delicate piano solo.

Matti | 4/5 |

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