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TUVALU

Crossover Prog • Finland


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Tuvalu biography
The Finnish group TUVALU was formed in 2003, and it's members are from both cities of Tampere and Helsinki. Annina Antinranta sings, Antti Harmainen plays guitar and the rhythm section is built from Jussi Oskari's bass guitar and Jussi Matikainen's drums.

Their strong song writing approach has been strengthened with personal and artistic solutions in the detailed arrangements. Band's own sound is borne from quite personal mixture, not focusing directly to any predefined musical fence based on idealistic values. Production quality of the records is professional, but the music is not aimed to the domestic hit radio channels nor maximum sales. Instead they are focusing to artistic expression within heavy art rock concept, drawing elements from vivid array of influences, creating an interesting unique concept. Song lengths are extended in some cases, and some compositions from loose concepts by reprising and referring each other. If one would wish to compare their sound to some progressive rock band, maybe the heavy and ambient elements of KING CRIMSON's post "Thrak" albums and powerful rhythmic emphasis and sci-fi oriented sounds of RUSH records could be mentioned, also the operatic dramatics of some heavy metal groups and feeling of MARS VOLTA are present in their style. Heavy guitar tones and imaginative assaults of bass and drums weave a web of complex rhythmic labyrinths for the singer to explore. Both dark dystopic visions and burlesque romanticism are united in their aesthetical and thematic ventures. Lady singer's imaginative and personal lyrics are sung in Finnish, so for global audience their lyrical ideas are probably lost, though not ruining the listening experience I dare to claim. The album titles fit to both their pessimistic style and group name (in English something like "Darkness Encircles Us!", "The Last Moments are Approaching!").

In time of writing this essay the group has released one EP and two studio albums, and their third long player has been announced to be released in 2010. Band is quite active concert giver in Finland, and their music would probably be interesting for fans of non-conventionally rhythmic heavy art rock with a lady singer (either appreciation or toleration of Finnish language is needed).


Eetu Pellonpää 2009


Sources:
http://www.tuvalu.ws/
http://www.myspace.com/tuvaluofficial

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TUVALU discography


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TUVALU top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.82 | 3 ratings
Pimeä saartaa meitä!
2006
3.86 | 3 ratings
Viimeiset hetket ovat käsillä!
2008
3.98 | 6 ratings
Tuvalu
2010

TUVALU Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

TUVALU Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

TUVALU Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

TUVALU Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Mitä muut ajattelevat sinusta?
2004

TUVALU Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Tuvalu by TUVALU album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.98 | 6 ratings

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Tuvalu
Tuvalu Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

3 stars This Finnish band is a good example of how the term Crossover Prog sometimes tells nothing concrete about the music. Usually CP is such prog that comes close to accessible pop, but that's not the case with TUVALU. This is at times noisy and aggressive, and always deeply introspective, edgy and merciless music - plus strongly progressive, perhaps unlike the group's earlier albums. I tried to get into their debut Pimeä Saartaa Meitä some months ago but just couldn't. Its cold and noisy alternative pop made me feel frustrated and bad-tempered. However, talking of this album, after surviving the fast and aggressive first songs there are something for me too.

The language is Finnish which may be a problem for foreign listeners. Vocalist and lyricist Annina Antinranta has a peculiar cruel sensualism in her singing - her voice being not very far from the Finnish pop star Jenni Vartiainen -, but unfortunately there are many moments where she expresses herself as aggressively as the music does, and that goes beyond my personal enjoyment capacity.

But those parts that are not so angry, and which in the end may form the majority of the album, are great, both in the progressive sense and purely emotional sense. Antinranta's lyrics are fine already in their own right, but it's really the combination of the text and the dynamic music that is so powerful. At times it gets calm and ambientish too, but always there is the strong feeling of presence. As I'm more or less outside of my comfort zone here, I'm not the best person to give references. Others have mentioned the later KING CRIMSON and MARS VOLTA.

My three stars feel a bit stupid for this breath-taking album. You see, to a large degree I'm rating music according to my own enjoyment. But I can understand very well why those few ratings here are either four or five stars. As a side note: Annina Antinranta has released a solo album under the name Passing Human Parade, which is more accessible music; my wife (an anti-prog listener, mostly) got enthusiastic about it for a while.

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 Tuvalu by TUVALU album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.98 | 6 ratings

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Tuvalu
Tuvalu Crossover Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Tuvalu' - Tuvalu (8/10)

Even seconds into the self-titled third album by this Finnish band, and I could tell I was going to become a fan of Tuvalu. Here is a contemporary progressive rock band that achieves the balance I look for in prog; that is, a balance between modern and classic sounds. Like The Mars Volta and Porcupine Tree, Tuvalu is a band that takes some vintage prog rock sounds and thrusts it into the fresh end of the scene. Descriptions as 'The Mars Volta with female vocals' are inevitable, but Tuvalu stands out in the Finnish prog realm.

'Tulevien aikojen luurangot' is a perfect reason for new listeners to think of The Mars Volta when hearing Tuvalu. Tuvalu have a modern psychedelic edge to their sound, although they are possibly most defined by their 'out of control' feeling that's brought on by the guitars and viciously precise drumwork. Rounding off the comparison is vocalist Annina Antinranta, whom virtually all reviewers (including myself!) seem to feel the need to mention is a female. After all, what man could have hoped to sing as high as Cedric! Regardless, her voice is powerful and melodic, although the music on 'Tuvalu' is rarely catchy. Antinranta's vocal style is influenced greatly by the phonetics of the Finnish language, which is quite distinctive. For an English-speaking listener who admittedly cannot understand what is being sung, there is still plenty of room to admire the way the words sound; Finnish is not an immediately musical language, but it works very well for Tuvalu. To counter the often weird and noisy guitar work, Antinranta's voice is sometimes teched out with a vocorder, the effect of which gives her a robotic tone to her vocals. Although there are quite a lot of ideas to take in without the comfort of many 'singalong' melodies, Tuvalu are instantly enjoyable in lieu of their fresh sound, regardless of their similarity to The Mars Volta.

Tuvalu are a dark, atmospheric band with a nice vintage touch. The psychedelic flourishes on 'Tuvalu' add to the enjoyment and identity, although Tuvalu did have a tendency to get lost in some of the more brooding sections of the album, occasionally to the point where the enjoyment and excitement began to wane, if only a little bit. Regardless, 'Tuvalu' is a near- masterpiece from an excellent Finnish progressive act, and if listeners can reach past the language barrier, they should find a wealth of enjoyment to behold here.

awesome drumming

mars volta but with female finnish vocals (another man could not hope to sing hat high!)

very nice vocals, not catchy at all but good melodies

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 Tuvalu by TUVALU album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.98 | 6 ratings

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Tuvalu
Tuvalu Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The Finnish quartet TUVALU was formed back in 2003 and just one year after its start the band issued its first musical excursion in the shape of the EP "Mita Muut Ajattelevat Sinusta". Since then three full-length efforts have appeared: "Pimea Saartaa Meita" in 2006, "Viimeiset Hetket Ovat Kasilla" in 2008 and at last "Tuvalu" in 2010. In between recording sessions the band has been an active unit on Finland's live scene.

Those who have a fancy for progressive rock of a generally eclectic nature that also incorporates elements from and references to genres not a part of the art rock universe will most likely find many intriguing aspects to this disc, with fans of acts such as The Mars Volta or Coheed & Cumbria a probable key audience for this fine Finnish act.

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 Tuvalu by TUVALU album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.98 | 6 ratings

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Tuvalu
Tuvalu Crossover Prog

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars The third long player of the band is in my opinion justifiably titled solitarily with their name, as I consider it concluding wonderfully the development of their own sound and style. The record is just full of some really powerful moments awaiting the ears of a willing listener:

Solemn pillars of sound in the opening indie rock anthem, building up a cathedral of pathos; Rolling melody verses waving the shores of turbulent musical sea named "Parahin Nicola"; Distant calls whispering behind delicate electronic layers of sound in a void impossible to name; Charmingly neurotic chord progressions weaving beautiful melodies upon rhythmic complexities of "Pimeys on ystävä", which draw together the interesting aspects familiar from both post-Thrak era King Crimson and rhythm section of Rush; Tension building and release reaching religious heights of "Tulvien jälkeen"; Diverse treatments of iconic melodic patterns creating smoothly flowing celestial "Fantasmagoria"; Aggressive outburst of rhythmic and melodic innovations in realm of "Valkoinen sumu nousee"; Finally a massive curtain closing the royal cosmic thesis.

The diverse musical elements mingle together here even stronger than in earlier albums. Symbolist cosmic fantasy themes give room this time for more abstract philosophical personal dialogue. The feeling of the record is slightly more warmer and calmer than in the two earlier albums, but contains also the familiar aggressive elements being part of the group's style. In both melodic and emotional level this stuff is also comparable in my opinion to Anekdoten's "From Within" and "Ricochet" albums, though there are no Mellotrons here. This association is borne probably due melancholic and grandiose styles both relating slightly indie rock sound. It is interesting how these powerful visions can be drawn from this kind of sound also; Those qualities most certainly do not seem to depend on only elitist approach. Certainly here is life and power enough to blow my mind, and decide this record has to be the best pick from the current albums of this cute group.

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 Viimeiset hetket ovat käsillä! by TUVALU album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.86 | 3 ratings

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Viimeiset hetket ovat käsillä!
Tuvalu Crossover Prog

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The second full studio album of this band reaches even deeper sectors of "Dactalspace". Song lengths run often to circa eight minutes, and loose concept themes are built from repeating of melodic variations, consolidated with the integrity of themes and overall style. Also many songs are merged together building a continuous flow of music. The record has some neurotic scale progressions slightly reminding millennium's change-era King Crimson, and which are completed with devoted piety. Balanced by more straightforward beating, where interesting contrast tensions are created by merging both calm background scale pickings and direct rock assaults, technically clean rock sound and alive emotional presence of the singer. The lyrics, sounds aesthetics and cover art themes refer to dystopic sci-fi themes, delivering a pleasant roller coaster ride to the band's symbolist fantasy world. I liked the contrasts of calmer and heavier sequences used in several tracks, forming very well working songs waving pleasantly from one hair-raising moment to another. The title track starts with a tasteful cosmic ambient sequence, and the main rock composition has nice variations in the verses, which deepens the composition effectively. "Varjoeläimet" has quite critical rhythm arrangements and other distracting elements included, being the really chaotic tune of the album. "Metarktis" is a longer tune with long build-up's and deep doses of melancholia, leading to powerful overdose named "60° 53´N, 101° 53´E", where solitary self-developing contemplations are projected as colossal prophetic science fiction visions with very imaginative dreamy arrangements. From their three first albums I believe this is the band's most hysteric output, culminating the anxiety both musically and lyrically (the last song really tumbles with this potential).

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 Pimeä saartaa meitä! by TUVALU album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.82 | 3 ratings

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Pimeä saartaa meitä!
Tuvalu Crossover Prog

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars I saluted this first long player of this group mostly due its sincere personal style, balancing between considered popular rock professionalism, rhythmic complexities, quirky artistic expressiveness, fearless sincerity in the lyrics and not forgetting respectful attitude to listeners in the experimentations. Musically this album moves further in progressive rock scope from their fine debut EP. Lyrics have grown to deeper level too, being symbolist and rich detailed rock poetry scanning the world from viewpoint of deeply feeling person, who seems to do much observations and analysis from both inner and outer worlds. The record opens dynamically, building hectic tension with rhythm arrangements, released by melodic vocal themes. Bass weaves a powerful web as basis for the controlled violent imagination of the twisting compositions. Lack of spaces between tracks increases the intensity nicely. Tracks have nice nuances in arrangements, like raw vintage distortion sound contrasting the clean sounds, which vividly enrich the logics of these rock compositions. As some details I liked especially "Irma Vep"'s mathematically clean shortenings of rhythm calculations, and the calmness of "Kiitospäivän ilta" breaking the furious assault with nice sonic landscapes, leading to both solemn, gentle and pleasant cosmic wanderings of "Mediaatio". As a personal experience of the sound aesthetics of conventional modern hard-rock and pop music, I have not found them basically displeasing, but often just been a surface for music lacking interesting content and personality. This band is quite operatic in its burlesque overdoing dramatics and romanticism, and I admit I like this, though detect it as a possible factor for somebody dislikes also. This "darker incarnation of Marillion" also fusions nicely all of their musical elements inherited from the cultural flow of rock as very personal mixture, implementing huge amount of personal progressive elements to rock music sound, and maintaining similarly a solid accessible musical structure. For non-Finnish listeners this stuff could be curious act for checking out, if one should be open to artistic indie rock with nice rhythm details, featuring a female vocalist using weird Fenno-Ugric language.

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 Mitä muut ajattelevat sinusta? by TUVALU album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2004
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Mitä muut ajattelevat sinusta?
Tuvalu Crossover Prog

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
4 stars This group delivers their thought-provoking message within an indie /alternative rock context, giving hints of their more experimental style driving their forthcoming long players. The Finnish lyrics are here more in front focusing to everyday life related themes, contemplating both sociological and psychological patterns of human life, and scanning an inner world of their writer in a quite personal level. As these texts unite with melancholic and powerful melodies, they give birth to a really fine music containing enough musical information, arrangement details and melodic feeling potential to satisfy quite large type of listeners. Elements of progressive rock appear as more complex rhythms and aural ambient sequences. Compositional output and production standards have been also been fine, as it is difficult to name any clear favorite track from the CD; A phenomena which in my opinion will be present in the forthcoming three albums too. Sounds are smooth, deep and clean, and the band works together achieving a carefully detailed and controlled end result. From progressive rock references of their sound could be a more romantic incarnation of 1990's Rush without their characteristic guitar solos, and a less angulated reflection of "Kallocain" record by Paatos.

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Thanks to Eetu Pellonpää for the artist addition.

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