You can call Crazy World a kind of Finnish super group, because band members Mika Järvinen (vocals), Esa Kotilainen (Hammond organ, Moog, Mellotron), Timo Kämäräinen (guitars, vocals), Anssi Nykänen (drums) and Lauri Porra (bass, backing vocals) are all rather well-known musicians in Finland. Some of them have even established an international reputation. So far they have recorded two albums; an eponymous one in 2005 and in 2012 the rock opera The Return Of The Clown.
From the moment I started listening to The Return Of The Clown I was rather impressed! These musicians certainly delivered an entertaining album. However, it appeared to be quite difficult to name references for the music on these thirteen tracks. The musical concept of this rock opera is only revealed when you read the comic that's printed inside the booklet. It tells the story of a clown riding around on a motor-bike trying to get back to his circus, but he has to deal with his enemies first. When I saw the front cover of the album I instantly thought of Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music, an album released by Hawkwind in 1976. This album had something to do with circus freaks as well and it contained lots of Hammonds, Mellotrons and Moogs either! Moreover, in those days Hawkwind's singers Dave Brock and Robert Calvert had the same kind of vocal style as Mika Järvinen has on this album. So after all a first comparison has been made!
Every now and then the use of vintage keyboard instruments and some fine guitar parts provide the album with a retro sound tending a bit in the direction of bands like Genesis and Pink Floyd. However, other people might mention different names and recognize nothing that reminds them of these bands, so don't tie me down if you disagree. Anyway, what matters is the music on this album which is very enjoyable. The first eleven tracks tell the story of the return of the clown followed by two additional tracks that were recorded live in 2007 and 2010 in Helsinki. Since I've Been Loving You is a fine cover of a song originally performed by Led Zeppelin. The second bonus is a live version of the third track The Clown In A Swing, but it differs not that much from the studio version.
Please check out this album and let me know what kind of influences you heard and whether you enjoyed The Return Of The Clown as much as I did. I think this album is very enjoyable for both space and prog heads!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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