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Jeavestone - Human Games CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.18 | 20 ratings

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3 stars (3 stars actually. I hesitated between 3 and 4 stars: perhaps in a more 'objective' mood I'd given 4 stars since there's no doubt about the excellence of production.) JEAVESTONE from Finland have made their fourth album, over five years since the previous one, 1+1=OK. The core line-up has come down to a quartet after the departure of the flautist Angelina Galactique (this band uses fancy pseudonyms) who however appears as one of the many guests here. The band's distinctive style has remained the same: it is eclectic and sometimes quite edgy approaching heavy elements, very extrovert and in a way happy, full of rock'n'roll spirit, which sharply separates it from those Finnish prog bands who favour influences from the 70's Finnish prog/ jazz-rock (and perhaps also melancholic feelings if they feature any vocals). DISCORDIA is perhaps the closest domestic comparison to Jeavestone; concerning also the vocal harmonies, their Eclectic Prog is easier to compare to modern American and Swedish prog bands from Spock's Beard to Beardfish or even Moon Safari.

The brief opener 'Another' is a piano-centred little song with those mentioned vocal harmonies. 'Repiphany' is one of the album's highlights. For the first 50 seconds one might think of vintage pop/rock such as The KINKS (Jim Goldworth's voice is slightly similar to Ray Davies') and then, a sudden in-your-face burst of adrenalin, and what you have is a gorgeously rolling prog rocker with a dose of Beach Boys. The slightly heavier title track is equally full of energy, and the guesting violin & viola give it a KANSAS flavour while also the powerful vocals remind me of Steve Walsh.

'Aurora Borealis Man' is at first plain reggae music, which is an amusing change of direction, but the short rap section in the middle is less welcome (I personally hate rap music...). On the next song there's again a hint of the late 60's pop (Beatles, Kinks), the arriving vocal harmonies are like early YES, but I dislike the aggressively sung chorus. There's also a tight electric guitar solo near the end. I associated the robot-like vocals in the beginning of 'Mean Words' to Yes' 90125 album ('Leave It' for example). Towards the end of the album Jeavestone's energetic "prog'n'roll" gets slightly tiresome to me and I begin to wish more sincere melodicism and calmness to balance the whole. 'Nuclear Superstar' is also among the best tracks. The last percussion-heavy track has a totally unnecessary tail repeating the pattern for two minutes.

All in all, the album's sound could have more of the opener's keyboard oriented brightness instead of being very guitar oriented. The songs are averagely better than on 1+1=OK. It's funny how many associations I got especially from the vocals: Kinks, Beach Boys, Kansas, Yes, plus Todd Rundgren and Ray Wilson (Genesis: Calling All Stations). Human Games won't let down anyone already liking this band, and it's worth recommending to listeners of modern Eclectic Prog with a rock'n'roll atmosphere and vocal harmonies.

Matti | 3/5 |


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