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Von Hertzen Brothers - Love Remains the Same CD (album) cover

LOVE REMAINS THE SAME

Von Hertzen Brothers

 

Crossover Prog

4.21 | 125 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars A true love of mine?

Two years after the release of their breakthrough album, in Finland at least, the Von Hertzen Brothers repeated their enormous success in that country with this their third studio album. The drum stool this time is occupied by Sami Kuoppamäki, the line up being further augmented by the arrival of keyboards player Juha Kuoppala.

The album sees the band consolidating the vast strides made between albums one and two, with many of the tracks once again being developed beyond their core pop rock structures to become prog style compositions running between 6 and 10 minutes.

Things begin rather deceptively with the almost imperceptible melody of "Scarborough fair" offering a decidedly folk tinge. As synthesisers gracefully pick up the tune, the more familiar harmonies of the Brothers Von Hertzen gently transport us towards their true vocation. At almost 11 minutes, "Bring out the sun (so alive)" is a superbly ambitious opening statement. Swishing Hammond organ sounds and floating synths adorn an ever ascending anthem which moves from the soft folk of the intro to a full blown metallic blast.

"Spanish 411" has a slightly retro feel, the frantic tempo supporting a complex arrangement which includes bullfighting horns. "Freedom fighter" is the first of three singles taken from the album. While the commercial aspects of the song are apparent, for me it is a weaker point on the album. "Somewhere in the middle" returns us to a more interesting arrangement, the piano and lead guitar intro leading to another majestic anthem.

"In the end" was also selected as a single. The song has similarities with the album tracks of Aha (an under appreciated Norwegian band, chastised for their singles success). The vocal performance here is particularly strong. The last of the singles on this album is "Faded photographs". While featuring a strong hook, the arrangement of the song is probably a bit too complex to succeed as a single, yet too pop orientated to appeal to prog fans. "Silver lover" has the sound of single B side; it has the familiar tenets of the better Von Hertzen brothers songs, but this time they do not pull together well.

"I Came For You" is a comparatively downbeat affair where the emphasis moves to an emotional delivery of a romantic eulogy. As the track builds through a repeating refrain, the harmonic singing becomes increasingly chorale. The closing "The willing victim" has similarities with the opening song, as both run to around 9 minutes, and both open with a soft acoustic passage. Here though the track remains subdued until it bursts forward with a refrain of the album title and a magnificent guitar crescendo. A delightful end to the album.

"Love remains the same" may be a bit of a daft title for an album such as this, but the quality of the music is undeniable. Here, the Von Hertzen brothers consolidate the progress made on their "Approach" album, while displaying an ever increasing willingness to realise the full potential of their compositions. "Love remains the same" sits on the edges or prog, leaning distinctly towards the commercial. It does so though from a position of being among the best in that field.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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