Love 1970 / Esoteric 2013
From the graveyard to the gravy train, the future Finnish legend’s ambition takes shape.
Becoming special takes time, and this band know this only too well, their second album showing clear indications of things to come, what with progressive fusion of “For America”, but letting rip all over the place in terms of style and smile. Having Kim Fowley in producer’s chair doesn’t add to the method as well, yet his suggestion to cover a piece of Erkki Kurenniemi’s electronic essay “The Dance Of The Anthropoids” resonated somewhat with the arrival of bassist Pekka Pohjola in the ranks whose classical training expands the cerebral element of the ensemble’s oeuvre here, very much so on the elegiac, cinematic instrumental “1936 Lost In The Snow”.
For the most part, though, the oeuvre’s quite eclectic. “Autograph” brings a soft country rock surprise to the party with its fiddle and jug, while “Frederick & Bill” breaks away from its initial Zappaism to compress its own improvisational nature in the riveting instrumental coil as Pohjola’s bottom end roils the bedrock. Elsewhere, Jim Pembroke, only a singer not a player for the time being, seems to pay homage to a PROCOL HARUM kind of cabaret in the sensitively orchestrated – accordion, mandolin, violin – title track, and guest guitarist Jukka Tolonen spikes acid into the blue-eyed soul of “Wishful Thinker” or “In Gratitude”, in which a familiar piano-organ twine rears its head courtesy of Jukka Gustavson. All this sounds like a precursor to "Fairyport", yet the fans of WIGWAM the art-rock purveyors can get lost in there, but to be puzzled with a bonus cut “Pedagogi”, sung in Finnish, is a delight.