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Positive Wave

Prog Folk

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3 stars Prog Folk ? Canterbury Scene ? Eclectic Prog ? Heavy Prog ?

The debut album from this new and talented Finnish band caters for everyone. But I have to say, most for those of us who loves the Canterbury Scene. Not that I am questioning the sanity of the extremely hard working genre teams, but this album is very jazzy and spacy, not to mention spicy, throughout. Fans of Caravan, beware. But yes, there is also a large prog folk percentage in their sound. But neither Positive Wave or this album is straight folk rock.

The vocals are female and the vocalist Susan Karttunen sings in her native Finnish. The keyboards is pretty vintage Hammond and gives this album a good 1970s vintage sound. The same does the saxophone, the violin and the flutes too. Everything is backed by a vintage electric guitar sound and the usual drums and bass. In short, this is a pretty hearty meal for fans of the early British scene in and around the cathedral in Canterbury.

While the sound is great, the songs are not that great, I am afraid. The quality is simply not there. But this is still a good album and a very good start in Positive Waves hopefully very long career. They are very much onto something great with this album and I hope they keep the sound while improving the song writing. I will keep a keen eye on this band.

3.5 stars

Report this review (#303637)
Posted Tuesday, October 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Finnish ensemble POSITIVE WAVE has been around in one form or another since 1998, and the initial formative trio has expanded to become a 7 member band as the years have gone by. And while a handful or so of EPs have been crafted by the band since its inception, a full-length effort didn't come to be until 2010, when the band self-released this self-titled production in the summer.

The positive vibes and light tones of Positive Wave will be something of an acquired taste I imagine. Many will probably find the material to be nice and pleasing without ever quite managing to become enthralling ? as I did. I suspect that those fond of 70's-tinged jazz rock of the kind that aimed to reach a broader audience will find this disc most interesting, and I wouldn't be surprised if I learned that fans of later bands like Mezzoforte found Positive Wave to be a really intriguing band an album either. A good effort in general, and one likely to attract a good sized audience also outside of the progressive rock universe.

Report this review (#434419)
Posted Saturday, April 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars I'm continuing the consensus of three stars. This music is fairly good but nothing more than that. In fact it's very forgettable; after listening to the CD twice, not a single song lingered in my memory. First, the cover art is not very suitable to the music. It made me expect mellower and more emotional Prog Folk. Instead I got rather restless jazz-rock with a female vocalist I don't enjoy much. Her voice in itself is OK, but her singing style is somehow phoney and it's hard to hear the lyrics (in Finnish). That's bad considering that the music is quite vocal-oriented all the time, even though it's not simplistic songs. There was a track near the end, it may have been 'Yli niittyjen' ("Over the meadows"), which evolved into a lengthy instrumental section. More that stuff, please!

The album gets notably better towards the end, but still there are no really succesful compositions that would move me. The first songs are worse, restless and hard to get the point of them. Lyrics - that are delivered unclearly as I said - seem rather banal tinkering of nature and life. Here are some song titles in English: Pearl; Tomorrow never ends; Foggy; Foggy Forest; Blue Waves; One day at a time. Sadly the natural beauty doesn't rech the music. The band is not without talent (mediocre perhaps) but the songwriting should improve a lot from this, and give more space for various instruments (such as vibes) to shine.

Report this review (#778045)
Posted Wednesday, June 27, 2012 | Review Permalink
Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
4 stars First of all, let me say thanks to my best friend Eetu Pellonpää for recommending POSITIVE WAVE and their album.

Sorry I cannot understand Finnish words at all but, if anything, it's better for me to feel Susan's talking air purely I imagine? POSITIVE WAVE's eponymous debut work can let us get aware of refined meditation with acidity, not only progressive folk rock.

Wonder why I can feel flavour closer to our nation in their music. Guess they'd called all of their artistic sense and cultural essence out and exposed to all the listeners. Pleasure, grief, palpitation, depression ... a mixture of their feeling experienced in life might be stuffed into this creation, and the balance of positiveness and negativeness can ring our bell. Susan's voices are not only sharp and strong but also a bit plaintive and somewhat hazy ... such a mysterious ear-texture, not simply feminine nor only powerful, may remind us something like Oriental mood.

Amazing are also Sini's kaleidoscopic saxophone shower, the groovy rhythm / riffs by Ayhan's bass and Henri's drums, Pekka's flower-blooming guitar sounds, Jani's gorgeous keyboard crystals, and Henri's percussion definitive for their worldwide sound theatre. Even in the most pop-ish track "Helmi", the latter part consists of a toolbox mixed with tribal percussion, heavy riffs by electric instruments and drums, avantgarde spectacle by tense saxophone wires, and cool clean keyboard washing liquid ... we should be taken aback at their mysticism.

Although it's nonsense for me to give an evaluation for each song, I cannot avoid mentioning as below ... "Elämä" is one of the most attractive tracks of them, with all of their great elements here and there. Sensitive voices, colourful guitar psychedelia, dynamic saxophone sounds, cool and steady keyboard cuts, fantastic ethnicity battles between percussion and drums ... all can be squeezed into this stuff. And the last "Viimeistä iltaa" featuring Susan's kind voice meteor stream based upon the sweet, warm dusk by all casts around her, is real hearty meditation. Priceless.

Report this review (#778084)
Posted Wednesday, June 27, 2012 | Review Permalink

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