Artists | Issues | CD Reviews | Interviews | Concert Reviews | DVD/Video Reviews | Book Reviews | Who We Are | Staff | Home
 

Crazy World

Crazy World

Review by Gary Hill

Let me say this up front - had this album been released in 1975 it would have sold millions and millions of copies. These guys do an incredible job of capturing the 70's hard rock sound and making it work with an original twist on the sound. Founded by Mika Järvinen (vocals) of Five Fifteen, the band is composed of him along with Esa Kotilainen of Wig Wam (keys), Timo Kämäräinen (guitar and vocals), Anssi Nykänen (drums) and Lauri Porra (bass). I have included this band in the progressive rock segment, and almost didn't, because it seems that with as much prog sound as they have it might be their most likely audience these days. Besides most of the hard rock (non prog) bands that they allude to with their sound come very close to being included into the prog category themselves. That said, their sound is really all over the map ranging from Pink Floyd to Deep Purple to White Witch, Uriah Heep, King Crimson, Yes, Genesis and many other acts. As one look at the pictures of the band will tell, they also are deeply into Led Zeppelin - in fact the live pics included in the CD might be mistaken for Zep at first glance. These guys manage to merge all these diverse sounds into something that is both organic and natural - and pull it off with an air of originality. The lead vocals are incredible, at times seriously matching Robert Plant's best in his heyday. Only his accent makes you know that this isn't one of the vocal powerhouses of 70's hard rock. Everyone involved, though puts in an incredible showing. If you love classic hard rock with strong prog elements, by all means check this disc out. They seriously don't usually make them like this any more. For more information or to pick up this CD point your browser to their featured point on the Spinefarm website.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
No White Marble
A dramatic acoustic guitar intro gives way to a melodic prog rock ballad that's part blues, part Pink Floyd and part psychedelia. This awesome cut is more about the lush arrangement than any dramatic prog rock changes, but the mood it captures is awesome. What a great, if understated way to star the album. They crank it up to rather crunchy Meddle era Floyd like territory later, but the vocal harmonies make this all their own. The lead soloing on the alter parts feels like a little bit David Gilmour and a little bit Steve Howe. It drops back to just acoustic to end.
Welcome to Crazy World
A great keyboard sound opens this, then the band come in in total chaotic cacophony. This is an incredibly short instrumental.
Long Hair Wild Man Rides Again
This calls to mind a super fast hard edged take on the proggier side of Deep Purple. It's a smoker that's more hard rock than prog, but has a killer classic rock sound and a Jon Lord like keyboard solo. The jam that follows combines surf guitar with classic Deep Purple into a furious hard prog jam. Then the bass takes a smoking solo before a return to the song proper. Total chaos ends this.
Poor Alice
They drop it back down to acoustic to start this ballad like number. The mode here seems to combine old Uriah Heep with Pink Floyd and David Bowie. It's another strong one on a disc that's full of them. They pump it up just a bit and the keys get a tasty solo. As this carries on the arrangement gets more lush and evocative. This turns into an incredibly powerful jam on the instrumental break. It ends with a pretty interlude.
Out Of Me
A short burst of a symphonic scale gives way to a metallic Deep Purple like excursion. This one is just straight up hard rock in its early incarnations. They reform it later, though, into a melodic prog rock jam that's part Yes, part Genesis and part Flower Kings. The weird thing is that, odd as that change sounds when described, this is a completely natural transition. It moves back to the hard edged to end.
Sweet Little Ugly Duckling
A dramatic jazzy intro eventually gives way to more bluesy Pink Floyd like jamming, then the striking prog ballad verse format enters and this song is off. As it hits the chorus it takes on new layers and powerful. This is understated, but very powerful modern prog. It gets amazingly dramatic as it carries forward, but never loses its melodic texture. It moves between its various modes throughout the song. The instrumental segment / extended outro is purely captivating. It's an exceptionally strong cut on an extremely strong album.
Old Tambourine
More hard edged rock, this is almost garage band/punk in texture, but it feels a bit like Hawkwind ala "Silver Machine." The chorus feels a bit like the psychedelia of Steve Howe's band Tomorrow. The lead guitar solo on this one is a real smoker. It moves straight into the next track.
Crazy World (Slight Return)
As this comes out of the previous number it drops into a tripped out space rock jam. This gets quite cacophonous and, appropriately, "crazy" and eventually turns to Crimsonian weirdness to take it to its ending.
Sölvesborg Afternoon
More vintage Uriah Heep sounds show up on this one. Add into that mix a little of Spinal Tap and you get the idea of the first segment of this cut. As it carries on it turns decidedly funky, then turns into major Led Zeppelin territory with a touch of Lovedrive era Scorpions. This then resolves into a killer psychedelically based prog for a short time before shifting to the harder ended section that feels like one part Focus and one part White Witch. Then it wanders into an expansive Pink Floyd like progression with the most Gilmour-like guitar work of the whole album. They fill out the cut with reprisals of the various sounds already presented.
Good Times, Bad Times
Wow, they really capture the sound to the proverbial "T" on this cover of the early Zeppelin stomper. It's like a modern recording of this classic that was under recorded in its original incarnation. While I usually like covers to make new contributions, this is still pretty amazing.
Misery Loves Company
A very mellow old world balladeer sound starts this, gradually turning rather psychedelic as it moves forward. Eventually new layers are pulled in including female backing vocals. Still, this remains a sedate cut. The guitar takes an evocative and restraint solo and the cut picks up on some of those Pink Floydian textures.
Hidden Track
After an extended period of silence acoustic guitar chimes in and the band launch gradually into a mellow balladic take on the opening cut played more stripped down. At times with really feels a bit like Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive." This loses no power in this format, but the accent on the vocals shows up much more significantly here. This eventually cranks up quite a bit, but it still stays more mainstream than the earlier version. This feels a bit like The Stones at times. This take on the cut is very evocative and strong. Spacey textures come over top for a short time later in the track, but they drop it way back to end.
 
Return to the
Crazy World Artist Page
Artists Directory
 
Google

   Creative Commons License
   This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

    © 2021 Music Street Journal                                                                           Site design and programming by Studio Fyra, Inc./Beetcafe.com