Second album from Finnish band Eden Prairie reflects the country’s long, dark winters.
There can’t be many bands that have been formed by an ex-legal aid for death-row convicts turned musician and if there are any, then Eden Prairie must be the only one formed in Finland! But that’s what British/Finnish Peter Samuel Tierney did when he got together with three bandless Finnish musicians, Jakko Immomen (drums), Tommi Kokkonen (guitar) and Manu Hilden (bass, lap steel).
‘Give Up The Ghost’ is their second album and comes a few years after their first. To quote the band’s press release: “The long downtime has given the band the opportunity to rub off the last of the punk rock smudge that pestered the sound and lyrics of their first album”. The new album certainly doesn’t have any punk undertones to it and its sound firmly comes under the banner of Americana or should that be Finlandana? It could also be filed under Alt. Country although to quote the press release again it’s “Alt. Country for people fed up with the genre”
To say the songs on the album are mournful and plaintive would be an understatement. This may be due to Tierney’s melancholic, raspy and slightly sibilant vocals but it’s also down to the overall feel of the songs. They’re all of a similar tempo and apart from the occasional lap steel, the sound of the instrumental line-up is the same. There are one or two tracks that have some nice harmonies, but these occur too rarely and the album could have done with some more of that to give the songs an extra layer as does at times all sound a bit samey.
To give an example of the often pessimistic lyrics, Tierney sings ‘Loving me is a waste of your time’ on ‘Sam Cooke’, ‘I lost you in Paris, I lost you in Rome and I lost you again when we got home’ from ‘The First Time I Lost You’ and on ‘When The Circus Comes To Town’ the lyrics are about having to sneak into the circus with a friend as their parents couldn’t afford the tickets; the eleven tracks on the album aren’t exactly a barrel of laughs.
It’s been said that Leonard Cohen wrote songs to slash your wrists to and whilst Tierney isn’t Cohen, his lyrics won’t pull you out of your slough of despair if you’re feeling that way. Finnish winters are famously long and dark so maybe that’s what has formed and informed Tierney’s lyrics – it’s certainly not an album to help you get through one of those long, dark Finnish winters without needing some kind of counselling when spring finally comes.