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Kingston Wall - III Tri-Logy CD (album) cover


Kingston Wall


Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.07 | 117 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The journey ends for a psych-rock luminary.

On 28 June, 1995, Petri Walli climbed to the top of a church tower in Helsinki and jumped to his death. The uber talented guitarist and leader of Kingston Wall was 26 years old.

Bassist Jukka Jylli: "I think that was almost like Petri's solo album, this third was really funny... because we didn't really have any idea what it will be... the result... Petri knew... we just tried to do our best. It was a very different album.Petri thought that the band was going to change somehow after this third album. Well, it changed because we split. I don't know what he actually wanted to do. He did not want to go on like before. So we released the album in autumn 1994 and I met Petri the last time on Christmas Eve, the same year... and then he went to India and after that I never saw him again. He tried to call me but I was not home. I was in the states. Shit happens..." [KW's Jukka Jylli, a brief excerpt from an interview by Scott Heller from Aural Innovations 4/99]

Kingston Wall came together in 1987 when Petri Walli convinced Jukka Jylli (over drinks) to call him back about starting a band. Jukka seemed less than thrilled about the talkative young man at the time but he made that call. Eventually the stars aligned and they picked up one of the most incredible drummer around, Sami Kuoppamaki. After playing live for some time they released their first spirited album in 1992, followed by their personal masterpiece KW2 a year later, and their mystifying swan-song KW3 (aka Trilogy) in 1994. They played their last gig on 6 December, 1994, and split up the next day. It was not clear that it was a permanent split though, perhaps more of a hiatus. Petri traveled to India after that as he was very interested in spiritual things. He is buried in Helsinki's Hietaniemi Cemetery, very close to the church where he took his life. Lyrics from all three albums, written by Walli, contain not-so-veiled messages about the state of his mind and speak openly of death. Some contend that the lyrics for "For All Mankind" from the final album are a suicide note in the form of a song lyric. (see below)

The first KW album is a rather rough and tumble affair. As mentioned, it is a spirited and occasionally fun musical equivalent of a car chase but it is not even in the same universe as the phenomenal second album. KW2 badly pummels the first album in every category you wish to compare: songwriting, playing, overall vision, overall wow-factor. The final album KW3 is somewhere in between from one perspective. But it is so different and bizarre that it's almost impossible to compare. While still retaining some of the psych-jam band glory of the first two album, the 3rd gets downright experimental at times via adventurous songwriting, way-out concepts, electronica, keyboards and sax, and a more studio album approach. The first two albums were essentially recorded live in the studio, often from material already road-tested, whereas the final album was the only true "studio" album according to Jylli. KW3 is an album that will irritate many fans of the second album's approachable, accessible sound. It will rock the boat and was likely intended to push buttons and challenge fans like groups often do when ready for a change. But for those who go in ready and willing for Walli's weirdest moments the album will still reward you.

The band charges furiously out of the gate with "Another Piece of Cake." Petri's very first solo sounds as aggressive and climactic as most album's showcase solo. Sami and Jukka are again as tight and brutal as Chad Smith and Flea. But as the track seques into "Welcome to the Mirrorland it becomes obvious this album is not a repeat of the last one. Strange, spacey loops of odd noises and synth gurgles fill out the landscape with Petri's voice taking on an otherworldy effect. "Take You to Sweet Harmony" embraces a little reggae with groovy echoed guitar wahs and a nice solo. "Get Rid of Your Fears" is a nice spacey guitar experiment with a heavy wall of bass. "Party Goes On" sounds like it indeed, a total psych-out with bizarre voices and instrumental cacophony. "Time" is the only track that sounds a bit serious, a bit sober as it laments the human condition over some laid back mode Hendrix guitar. And then there is "The Real Thing," another epic like "Mushrooms" from the first album, this one a tad leaner at 18 minutes. It's a better track as well, spanning a wide variety of moods and energies from quiet and spacey to balls out rock and roll. Mostly rock and roll with the power trio going for broke on every jam. With the best playing and even a killer long sax solo it is easily the stand-out track and a respectable, fitting farewell track for this amazing little band. The booklet is very cool with lots of cymbals and imagery that Petri was fond of. This is a good album but I still cannot call it essential. Once again I recommend the second album for anyone new to this band and if you like that, then perhaps move on and check out the other two.

As for the controversy about whether the lyrics of "For All Mankind" are Petri's farewell note to humanity, here's a couple lines, judge for yourself: "Look out world it's time to more crying with my mind.when we'll sing no lullabies.and all of us have real eyes.the shaman seeds for all day we will say all of them who live the more need to compromise.balanced heart needs no disguise" [P. Walli]

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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