Monday, September 27, 2010

Like the Summer Never Ended

It is time for some updating. Getting around to doing that seems to be way too challenging for me these days. I do think about writing almost all the time. The problem is that I have schoolwork to do and writing extra stuff doesn't feel appropriate very often. I need to relax sometimes too! However, I have also noticed that writing to this blog may be the perfect means of relaxation and therapy.

Anyways, my favorite band from Finland, Lemonator, released a new album on September the 1st. What can I say? They did it again: made the sun shine right when I needed it as the leaves started falling down from trees. The album carries the name Shake, Shake, Shake.. What a good indication of the lightheartedness it represents! It is the band's least rocking album yet but it is just as good as the other albums.

Lemonator is, in fact, one of my dearest and also oldest favorites (if you don't count childhood favorites). This magnificent Helsinki band made its way to my heart in 2003 when I saw the music video for a song called Broken Record on TV. Lemonator had just released a new fourth album Grandpop. I bought it and was instantly very impressed. Now that I think about it, Grandpop was the album that introduced me to power pop as a music style. It was a great introduction because of its great songs, rock & roll edge and capability of also showing the fabulously atmospheric and melancholic gentler sides of the band. In 2010, they are still my favorite Finnish band.

Well, yeah, there was that thing with Tehosekoitin and whether I might like them more than Lemonator. Tehosekoitin is (was) also very, very good.. But I still think Lemonator has the #1 spot in my heart when it comes to the loveliest Finnish bands.

It is easy to fall in love with bands that have made excellent albums - and if they also happen to sound like the Posies and the Beach Boys there is really no escape! So far, Lemonator has only released excellent albums the first being Yellow (1997), a happy, fun, fast-paced and loud album - perfect music anytime when you wish to hear high-energy pop rock (to me that is often...). The second album, Maison Rilax (1998), was a clear response to Yellow's overflowing happiness. Maison Rilax was a slower-paced album that dealt with lost love. The album included more complex song structures and various influences signaling that there was much more to Lemonator than just fun, rampaging rock'n roll. Maison Rilax was an impressive sophomore effort. The biggest hit, however, was yet to follow.

Most Lemonator fans probably consider the third album, The Waltz (2000), as their favorite. I do, too, of course... The Waltz is the culmination of Lemonator's best sides: it has an amazingly heartfelt and comforting mentality, spectacular songs that all have something important to say melodically, emotionally, soundwise and as well as lyrically. The album also shows Lemonator's sense of the dramatic. Even though the album presents a pretty broad variation of themes and moods - quite a few dark or melancholic ones too - the result as a whole is an album so deep, loving and touching that I still regard it as the Finnish Pet Sounds.

Following Grandpop (2003) came out At the Presence of Great Beauty (2006), the fifth album by Lemonator. This album was another really heartfelt effort. It had the heart of The Waltz, the rocking edge of Grandpop and the melancholic shades of Maison Rilax. All this made the album a simply unforgettable listening experience. The song material is gorgeous. Also, the string arrangements are a pretty good match for ELO's best work.

As I said, Shake, Shake, Shake is the latest album. It is lovely, of course it is lovely.. California Fun and I Always Wanted to Be a Drummer are some of the catchiest songs of the year and Hold Me Now is clearly the loveliest song of the year... At least to me.

Thank you Lasse Kurki, Risto Eskolin, Antti Karisalmi, Kelly Ketonen, and Mikko von Hertzen (former drummer). You always make my day!

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