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Haikara - Haikara IV - Domino CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.28 | 15 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Just one non-collaborator 2-star review for this comeback album of HAIKARA? No, it's not a great album but definitely deserves more than that. First it must be pointed out that comparing it to the classic stuff from the early 70's won't do it justice. The overall atmosphere is quite warm, calm and harmless, whereas the vintage Haikara is notably darker and perhaps more challenging on the listener's behalf. The Finnish prog output was at this time still very sparse, so it must have been a nice surprise to see the classic 70's acts making their returns to the scene, though with somewhat mild results (and this goes to Wigwam and Pressa as well).

Promisingly only two tracks of six are of the modest 3-minute length (the others from 7 to nearly 13 minutes), and pleasantly the album is instrumentally oriented. The sparse vocals are by Vesa Lattunen and the reeds player Jan Schaper. The opener 'Polku' (= a path) gives a good example of the album's strengths and weaknesses. The mellow sound is reminiscent of the seventies, wich isn't a bad thing, but the mixing is not very succesful. Soprano sax and acoustic guitar dominate, while the keyboards are almost buried and the production is a bit thin. Also the friendly mid-tempo dominating throughout the album may make it rather boring and disappointing to some prog listeners. On the other hand it's fairly pleasant from start to end. The compositions are melodic, extended with long instrumental sections.

'Ykseys' (12:43) is the most progressive and lively track, slightly marred by Lattunen's weak vocals. The interplay between sax and guitar is good. 'Lady' is a beautiful, sensitive instrumental track starring acoustic guitar and recorder, having thus a Medieval flavour (compare GRYPHON). 'Gloria Deo' starts with a Gregorian-like a cappella choir in Latin, replaced soon by a rock combo; the rest of the 9-minute track is instrumental and among the highlights. The section with a flute may bring CAMEL in mind. The brief closing track 'Kultamalja'(= a cup of gold) is a very delicate acoustic song. I like it.

To some this never would be worth four stars but IMHO the strengths and the pleasant features overcome its weaknesses. Not a masterpiece on any level but a nice, warm and sincere album of melodic, instrumentally oriented prog. 3 stars rounded up.

Matti | 4/5 |


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