Not quite there...,
This review is from: Snow On Moss On Stone (Audio CD)
After last year's overlooked debut, Mauri Hekknen is back with his follow up. Instantly something feels slightly different about this one. The wonderful opener Bakery is instant and almost pop classic. Bursting with an energy that was possibly missing form the debut, Hekknen's vocals are strangly gruff yet hugely enthusiastic! Following this, his almost traditional sparse acoustic guitar returns and is the only instrument which acompanies his strange voice. His vocals are possibly the reason Drowsy falls outside of the usal same old same old, sometimes its as weathered as a 40 fags a day grandparent, other times its as youthful as his real age, certinly something different.
As the album moves along, songs vary from the quite cheery Treehouse to the very traditional yet not really anything too it Words Of Warmth.Good Old Odd Gold is definatly a stand out on this album, which is amost ironic as its the only one to not feature any vocals. Further songs remind me of the first Alfie album, that sparse guitars and sometimes undeciferable lyrics. Off You Go All Authors is one song which shouldnt work, especially on an album of quiet and shy songs. Hekknen's vocals are high and folksy, backed by some wonderful accordian. The final song is also quite wonderful, sparse piano brings back memories of early A Silver Mt. Zion. Its a fitting end to an album of 'almost there but not quite' songs.
It certinly is a strange one in places this, Hekknen is certinly talented, playing and writing all the songs almost by himself, and for his age it really is an acheivment. So many different genres are floating about the album, yet after a while it starts to just blur into one, with the odd stand out song. Which really really is a shame.
These last few releases have seen FatCat move more and more into the realm of pop songs, and with varying success to. This album really is nice, yet something isnt quite there. Maybe it just feels like the boundaries are not being pushed and there is a feel of same old same old. But thats hardly a complaint. This is certinly a better release than his last, it feels more coherent and more thought out. Yet possibly that is it's downfall, sometimes songs sound the same and sometimes its one of those albums you can ignore, As nice as this is, it isnt going to set the world on fire. Unfortunatly.