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Art Deco - Syvään Uneen CD (album) cover


Art Deco

Crossover Prog

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3 stars "Syvään Uneen" is Art Deco's first record, a Finnish band, rewritten to dwell in Crossover lands and that seems to be a good definition of this music. The music of Art Deco is almost all the time well arranged and the musicians are progressive. Especially guitars (two guitarists: Antti Koivistoinen and Tuomo Suhonen) and keyboard (Olli Autio) makes this good and occationly symphonic. What makes me don't feel so much for this record is the vocals(Jaana Mäkinen). She does some new things with her voice but it feels strained and sometimes wrong. It could be me being unused to Finnish language, one of the most unconventional ones in Europe, though a brother nation to my own Sweden.

The album's best effort is "Valaistumattomat" not surprisingly the longest track and a great symphonic one where a wonderful melody introduces us and in the end says farewell. My feeling there was deep and inspired and in the middle of the song it was very experimental and a bit of space rock. "Suurin panoksin" has some flavors of the seventies and a beautiful melody which feels Finnish. "Sväeltäjä" is darker and calmer with wonderful sound and "Pala kerrallaan" has divine instrumentation and an edge. I have problem with the vocals though. They don't work here and in the song "Ikuiseen uneen" (almost a boring pop song) it feels like the vocals is sprung from Eurovision. Perhaps others would like it but the song wasn't my cup of tea.

As one this record passes my definition of a good record. The instruments and the thought about much in this music is interesting and wonderful, but this is not a record I think I will keep. I hope anybody else shares his/her opinion about this record. That would be interesting! Three stars!

Report this review (#1024730)
Posted Tuesday, August 27, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4.5 really

Art Deco is a young and very talented band from Finland formed around 2004 who manage to release their first album this year 2013 in summer, named Syvään Uneen. Well, from the start I'm saying that is probably my fav album from 2013 and one of the most original releases in last years for sure. The band combining in a great manner and with style diffrent genres, from eclectic prog moments melted with experimenta/avan-prog elements, art rock passages, pop sensibilities the result is a fantastic journey in Art Deco musical landscapes. They sung in finish and is very well, because this languge it fits perfectly in the music. Vocal lines provided by Jaana Mäkinen is absolutely jaw dropping for me, such a powerful female singer I never heared for quite some time, there are some real acrobatics in her voice that make me really enjoy the singing at the highest level. The guitars and keyboards are particulary very strong, sometimes it sounds like in the mid '80's, specially the keyboards, has that pop/art rock feel, very good btw. The guitars are awesome at best, such inventive arrangements here on every piece, original and quite memorable. All pieces are strong with a plus one Säveltäjä , just check out the Jaana voice , incredible range, Ikuiseen Uneen is another highlight for me that capture that long gone '80s atmosphere with keybords having almost an '80s feel, very nice. The album is digipak format with very nice artwork is available at finish label Runningmoose. For me a great discover and one of the best albums I've ever heared. 4.5 stars for this little masterpiece. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#1073270)
Posted Wednesday, November 6, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars I immediately liked this Finnish debut album. It has a retro feel, as if it was composed in the late seventies, while it sounds timelessly fresh and bright. Perhaps the closest band musically that I've listened to is Aquaplan, another Finnish prog band with a female vocalist. The band sound could be decribed as light, maybe even thin in a way, with some early 80's feel. Jaana Mäkinen's vocals are in a central role. Her bright voice reminds me of Liisa Tavi (probably not known to anyone outside Finland), and I sense the same kind of thoughtful, adult-oriented vocal music atmosphere in here. Tavi worked a lot with Pekka Tegelman (of Finnforest) at the late seventies/early eighties, by the way. Naturally Art Deco's music is much more progressive than Liisa Tavi's, but I think it helps if you can enjoy also the poetry-oriented vocal music of Finland.

Others have noticed that the vocal arrangement, ie. the placing of words, feels sort of clumsy on this album. Hmm, quite true actually, but I'm not irritated by it at all. The rhythmic structures are complex enough otherwise too, so that the suggested clumsiness gets half disguised in it. The group features two guitarists who both happen to be the main composers. Guitar playing doesn't vary very much though, it's more up to the keyboards to do solos and alternate the tonal colour. First and foremost this is light CROSSOVER prog, so don't expect very symphonic or eclectic prog in the first place.

The songs are mostly in 3 to 6½ minutes in length, but there's one long mini-epic, 'Valaistumattomat' ("The Non-enlightened") (13:26). The instrumental latter half gets quite adventurous, almost psychedelic, before returning to a vocal section. It's obvious to pick that track as a highlight, but in fact the whole album offers many good moments spread evenly. Here and there the sound is indeed a bit too thin and hollow, but there are no notably weak tracks. There's a peculiar balance between some sort of detached coolness (emotionally, that is) and intimate warmth. I can't explain it. I can imagine that a non-Finnish speaking prog listener may find this album dull, totally untouching and too much of the same all the way, but if you share my musical taste, give it a spin. Nice retro-ish cover art too. BTW, Syvään uneen means 'into deep sleep'. I wish this new band the best of luck!

Report this review (#1131489)
Posted Friday, February 14, 2014 | Review Permalink

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