The beat goes on in Finland, this time gently
  In the issue number 2 of last year I wrote about the blooming of the Finnish pop music scene. Sinxe that same renaissance is still going on and I took you only to a very quick general tour of our rocky landscape. I thought it a good idea to visit some white spots on the musical map in a little bit more detailed way. Exploring the unknown is exciting and travelling broadens the mind, so…  
  Burnout is cancelled  
    Sir Elwoodin hiljaiset värit (The Silent Colours of Sir Elwood) seemed to suddenly pop into the Finnish consciousness straight out of nowhere. A year ago nobody had heard of this laidback Helsinki quintet, now they play gigs around the country and are getting a lot of airplay.  
    The general public has taken to them much faster than to Livin' Drops or to Kosonen who plays trumpet also on the Elwood's first album "Varjoissa vapaan maailman (In the Shadows of the Free World)" on Herodes Records. Public reaction to the Elwoods is understandable because their storylike songs have a very Finnish melancholy to them where as in Kosonen's and Livin' Drops' case the ethnic charasteristics are more hidden under international influences.  
    The Elwood's musical inspiration comes from fellow Finns like singer/songwriter Yari and especially the Tampere and Kumma Heppu ja Lopun Ajan Voidellut but also from Americans like Tom Waits, J.J. Cale, Billie Holiday - the Finns love these three madly - and the late soft singing trumpet legend Chet Baker.  
    Where the Elwoods have a lot in common with the Drops and Kosonen is their shying away from loud rock. They are not a compleately acoustic band, but they sound like one. Intimate mood is supremely important to these guys just like it is to the Lappalainen brothers.  
    Everybody who has seen the band live, agree that that is their forte. That's why the album was recorded live in the studio just in three days.  
    Somehow we are always more relaxed on stage. Especially Juha (Lehti, singer and lyricist) tends to overinterpret in a normal recording situation, the boys admit. With the live recording this pothole was cleverly avoided.  
    Even though the Elwoods are getting offers for gigs with accelerating speed they don't necessarily accept all of them. In fact they are sort of braking on the whole snowballing effect of success. They ditched the services of their former management and delegated the business side to a close friend of the band so that they won't be taken for any ride that they don't want to take.  
    We want to keep this whole thing relatively small time and enjoyable for ourselves. As a matter of fact nobody in this band wants to become a fulltime musician. We all have other jobs for making money. That's why we can rehearse three times a week, laughs drummer Arto Leskinen.  
    No wonder the Elwoods are such a natural and thrilling experience. For them burnout is cancelled beforehand.  
    So if you are one of those people who like pop music but are getting tired of murderously heavy drums, screaming guitar and wailing vocalists here you have three excellent alternatives. Kosonen and Livin' Drops, by the way, can be tried in small dosage on the "Finndies, Volume 1". It's a compilation album of "The Very Best of Finnish Independents" where 21 different up and coming bands perform one of their songs.  
    Suomi - USA 1/92  
    text: Jussi Niemi  
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