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Wigwam - Fairyport CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.15 | 205 ratings

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4 stars Saucy Canterburian White-boy Stevie Wonder out of Finland

Finland. Yes Finland. The outsider country that lies on the eastern tip of Scandinavia mostly known for Nokia and it's involvement in the second world war. Personally I have a long withstanding relationship to the country due to a brand of vodka named Finlandia, and most importantly: the music.

I've been thinking about a series of reviews opening up the gates to Finland's progressive music scene, and where else to start than the magnificent and probably most recognised of bands: Wigwam. First of all I really have to thank John(Mellotron Storm) for pointing me in the right direction, and for that I am forever grateful of. Thanks buddy! This album is a jewel in the rough, and even if it, at times, shows signs of overindulgence and the odd track that doesn't quite fit in with the rest, the remaining material is up there with the best of it's time. This is melodic fusion at its most intricate and endearing, and to yours truly it actually feels much more like a Scandinavian Canterbury release. It's got those angular shifts - the jumpy pianos and organs that sound incredibly powerful and meaty - like fluctuating fat chords being stomped upon by a great big melody smith of jazz rock. Swish! From one end to the other, these massive chords act as a delightful foundation for everything else to flourish on. Saxophones, guitars, oboe, bassoon, clarinet and warm vibrating congas fluently running alongside the engaging melodies like a sprinting sonic gazelle.

The trademark of Wigwam, at least to this slightly crazy Dane, is the wonderful mix of the aforementioned Scandinavian Canterbury warmth coupled together with what can only be described as the white-boy rendition of Stevie Wonder on vocals. In fact most of this album wouldn't sound out of place on Wonder's fantastic Innervisions - had he opted for a decisively more jazzy and playful expression. But don't take my word for it though, get your own copy, and tell me you don't hear the distinct similar feel in both piano and organ melodies as well as those bitter-sweet charismatic vocals. What this effectively does, is making Fairyport astonishingly accessible, even for those of you who normally despise the fusion genre. This is just such a welcoming and lovable album, that I have serious trouble imagining anybody into progressive music not liking it.

For anybody who's interested in music from Finland, this is da shizzle right here! Even if many of the Finnish bands were into gang-banging back in those days - trading members all over the place - I think that essentially was part of the reason as to why the scene became such a thriving and blooming place for music. There was a common feel, and although most of the groups had created a sound for themselves, you still hear that endemic and Canterburian sound prevailing. It's playful and well-thought out - likening to the sort of song-writing you'd encounter in British groups like Caravan and Hatfield and the North - be that with the unique Finnish stamp. A sense of melody and a way with brass instruments that I personally feel exceed any of the acts from the cradle of the Canterbury sound.

Fairyport is recommended to everybody. Hah! Sounds ridiculous, but I mean that. Most of this album is masterpiece material - it rides a musical high that is as seldom and beautiful like a lost rainbow in a closet, and even if those mundane and bewildering sections knock it down to a 4.5 star rating, the remainder of this album is like exploding chocolate ice cream in your tummy.

Guldbamsen | 4/5 |


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