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3 stars Formed in 1999 in Oulou, Finland, Aquaplan's core was installed by guitarist Ari 'Suti' Sutinen, female singer Maarit Saarenkunnas and drummer Tuomas Erkkilä.The expanded 6-piece original line-up included bassist Ari Kivelä, acoustic guitarist Pasi Korhonen and keyboardist Juha Anttila.After the CDR demo ''Tekee jäljen veden pintaan'' from 2000 Kivelä left to continue a career as double bassist in the Classical Music field, replaced by Trusties bassist Ville Veijalainen.The refreshed Aquaplan recorded the band's official debut ''Paperimeri'', a private CD release from 2003.

The band chose the easy way of Progressive/Art Rock, building the ideas of Sutinen around relatively simple song-based compositions, which however contain a high degree of emotion, atmosphere and sensitivity, akin to bands like IONA, YOU AND I or PAATOS.The very sensitive and crystalline singing in Finnish (with the exception of a couple of tracks) by Maarit Saarenkunnas is combined with relaxed musical themes, characterized by careful electric passages, measured use of background keyboards and a fair dose of acoustic textures.And while the music has a strong poppy feeling at moments, it combines elements from Art Rock, Jazz and Folk in a very accesible way, based on the well-written melodies and the lovely lyrical atmospheres.The long eponymous track though is a very good example of a band writing really demanding material if needed.Elaborate, polished but also adventurous Progressive/Art Rock with extended electric guitars and edgy keyboard work next to more lyrical atmospheric passages.

Really nice debut by Aquaplan and a great discovery for anyone into the more lyrical and accesible side of Progressive Rock.Warmly recommended.

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Posted Sunday, October 28, 2012 | Review Permalink

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