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Vesilinja - Vesilinja CD (album) cover

VESILINJA

Vesilinja

 

Crossover Prog

3.92 | 5 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
4 stars This is the brand new debut album of VESILINJA, a retro-minded prog band from Tuusula, Southern Finland. The name means literally "water line". The founding member Aake Salmi kindly told me some background for the name: "Starting as a duo of myself and Niko Saarinen, we made up this name referring to our water-themed surnames ['salmi' = strait; 'saari' = island]. In addition, neither of us are heavy consumers of alcohol. The name can also refer to our musical lines drawn in water, so to speak."

The 45-minute debut seems to be a real labour of love as a pure 70's-oriented prog album. The influences include the Finnish prog legends TASAVALLAN PRESIDENTTI, WIGWAM, TABULA RASA and HAIKARA, and various classic prog acts such as JETHRO TULL, YES, CAMEL, VdGG and KING CRIMSON in their 70's prime. Any modern characteristics in music are indeed pretty absent. All six songs, three on each vinyl side, have lyrics in Finnish. The opening track has a Tull-like flute and lively rhythm. I hear also the Pressa influence when saxophone joins in the hectic instrumental section. The vocal-included parts of 'Heinäkuorma' (= Burden of Hay) are in a calmer tempo. I especially like the moment around 5:40 where the fast instrumental jazz-rock section ethereally calms down. 'Vaihtoehto järjelle' (= Alternative for Reason) combines hectic jazz-rock/prog with lots of sax & flute, and more melodic vocal sections. The vinyl's second side is not radically different, being equally strong.

Guitarist-flautist Salmi and saxophonist Topias Ahola (the latter sings main vocals on two tracks) are rather same sounding as vocalists. Gracefully they are not as weak singers as Haikara's Vesa Lattunen, but sort of commonplace the same way. They do the vocal duties well enough while the emphasis is gratifyingly on the inspired, organic playing. The band sound is always flourishing and fairly democratic. Reeds, guitars and vintage keyboards primarily share the mutual joy of playing with a live-like feel and energy, adding passionate solos on right moments. This is the album's strength, but perhaps its weakness too: none of the six songs is notably different from each other. Instead of clearly having different things such as big epics vs. short ones, emotionally oriented melodic pieces vs. tight prog energy, all- instrumentals vs. vocal songs, etc., these features are well stirred on all tracks. This is why the album whole is not as fresh and exciting as I'd hope it to be.

Vesilinja is warmly recommended especially for enthusiasts of the 70's Finnish prog with a jazz-rock orientation. Hopefully the band will find a slightly more unique voice of their own. A gorgeous debut nevertheless. 3½ stars rounded up for a fine artwork, also courtesy of the band itself.

Matti | 4/5 |

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