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Crossover Prog • Finland

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5th Season biography
The founding and current line-up of the Tampere-based rock band 5th Season consists of Tapio Ylinen (vocals, guitars, additional keyboards), Arto Piispanen (keyboards), Mikko Löytty (bass, backing vocals) and Jani Auvinen (drums, percussion), each having a respectable background in the Finnish rock scene. The group was originally formed in 2017 as a live outfit for songs of the solo albums by Ylinen and L�ytty. Their first recording together was for Mikko Löytty's fourth solo album in 2018, but the proper start of 5th Season as an individual band came in the form of the eponymous debut album released in May 2023.

The album is stated to be a labour of love that pays deliberate tribute to prog legends such as Pink Floyd, Yes, Genesis and Procol Harum. The Pink Floyd influence is obviously felt especially in Tapio Ylinen's songwriting and guitar work. Among his other musical activities, Ylinen is a member of the Finnish Pink Floyd tribute band P.U.L.S.E., and he runs a record company with a Floyd-derived name Eclipse Music. Instead of 70's-rooted symphonic prog, much of the album's material comes closer to the more pop oriented acts such as The Alan Parsons Project, or the contemporary Finnish Crossover Prog bands like Lighthouse Sparrows and Sunhillow. The clean and modern production was done by Tapio Ylinen.

The debut album features two notable guests: Durga McBroom (from the Pink Floyd touring band in the 80's and 90's) added valuable backing vocals on three tracks, and the Finnish prog legend Jukka Gustavson plays organ on the bluesy song 'Don't Wanna Sing Your Blues'.

(Bio written by Matti)

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3.27 | 7 ratings
5th Season

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 5th Season by 5TH SEASON album cover Studio Album, 2023
3.27 | 7 ratings

5th Season
5th Season Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The frontman of this Finnish band, guitarist and songwriter Tapio Ylinen, makes it plain to see which is his all-time favourite band. As a side note, I have seen him on stage a few times, in the Finnish Pink Floyd tribute band called P.U.L.S.E (they're very good!). The Pink Floyd influence is by far the most obvious one on 5th Season's eponymous debut. Although the band themselves speak of the album as a tribute to the classic 70's prog in general, I advice you to approach the majority of the album's music merely as prog-flavoured pop in the vein of The Alan Parsons Project. At least symphonic prog is rather absent here, and also sonically the main influence is sovereignly Pink Floyd from The Dark Side of the Moon onwards, up to the 80's & 90's era under David Gilmour's leadership. My own expectations were admittedly coloured by all that prog talk, eventually leading to a slight disappointment at my initial listening. But now after several further listenings I have grown to like this album more and more, just the way it is.

The opening track 'In Memoriam' is a 10-minute instrumental and without a doubt a highlight for the prog-minded listener. The electric guitar and keyboards build melodies full of passion and delicacy. At times they soar in a Camel or Focus manner, although the Pink Floyd vibe is strong and even contains clues to the Meddle era. Nevertheless, this composition by Tapio Ylinen is not a carbon copy in any sense, it is an original piece of music. After such gorgeous opening, the following pop stuff indeed may be some kind of an anti-climax at first.

'Dayligh's End' is a perky, uptempo pop song resembling more of The Alan Parsons Project than even Pink Floyd at their poppiest. Ylinen's lead vocals are pleasant, and they have a certain thoughtful tenderness comparable to the APP vocalists such as Eric Woolfson and Colin Bluntstone, without exactly sounding like either of them. 'I Am the Waves' is slower and more emotional song, with a clear Floydian vibe most obviously heard in the electric guitar solo resembling the one in 'High Hopes'.

And what do we have next? A two-part piece boldly titled 'On the Dark Side of the Moon'. The first part is composed by bassist and songwriter Mikko Löytty. The highly accessible melodies are enjoyable, and I really like the spacey synths and vocal harmonies arranged by Durga McBroom, known from the 80's / 90's Pink Floyd concerts. At the end of Part 1 Ylinen does the rather unnecessary piggy thing à la Floyd's 'Keep Talking' with his guitar. Part 2 is more instrumentally oriented and a prog highlight due the way the musicians get relatively wild in it.

'Lay Down' is a moody pop/rock song written by Löytty. Ylinen's guitar work is very Gilmouresque, but one could think of Dire Straits, too. My least fave track is the plain blues song 'Don't wanna Sing Your Blues' in which Jukka Gustavson (Wigwam, solo) guests on Hammond.

The final piece 'Desperate Measures' is a definitive highlight, if a bit calculated at that. The slow opening bars are reminiscent of the Procol Harum classic 'A Salty Dog', but soon the Floydian approach takes over. Again, Durga McBroom's vocal arrangements are wonderful, and in the latter half she takes the center stage with a 'Great Gig in the Sky' style vocalise part. An excellent way to end this enjoyable album. 3½ stars.

Thanks to cristi for the artist addition.

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