In the past I listened to several albums recorded by the Finnish keyboardist Pasi Koivu, but somehow his music couldn't hold my attention. His albums had just too little to offer, but the eponymous album he made with Corvus Stone grabbed me by the throat instantly. Corvus Stone is an international project established after a series of exchanges between musicians on the social network Facebook. The initial core of this project consists of guitarist Colin Tench (BunChakeze, Minstrel's Ghost), bassist and multi-instrumentalist Petri Lemmy Lindström and of course Pasi Koivu.
The whole thing started when Tench added some guitar lines to one of Koivu's compositions. This led to quite a number of responses, which eventually saw Lindström getting involved too. In the course of only a few weeks they finalized a handful of compositions that were just made for fun. This was more or less the start of this new project. Pasi Koivu appears to be the main composer of this threesome, but when you listen to the long list of 21 compositions, you actually never get the idea that all tracks were written by a keyboardist. There's enough room for the other musicians to shine on this album.
Most of the instrumental pieces sound as if they were recorded during a jam session, but that didn't really bother me. As long as these tracks have anything to say music wise it's okay with me. Most songs have a good structure and never get too freaky. The spirit of the seventies wanders about in these songs, but I think that has something to do with their age. Occasionally Koivu sounds like Rick Wakeman when he let his MiniMoog speak, and sometimes touches of bands as Deep Purple − a small part of Smoke On The Water has been included on Moron Season − and the early Fleetwood Mac can be noticed as well. Even the music of the flower power era comes to the surface in a few compositions and throughout the album quite a lot of distinct psychedelic influences as well. Not all tracks are instrumental because singer and occasional lyricist Blake Carpenter joined the ranks of Corvus Stone. His singing on Ice King and Moron Season sounds rather strong and it made me wonder why he didn't sing more often. However, that wasn't possible as he became a band member rather late in the process of recording, so that made his influence limited. Drummer Robert Wolff also joined the band later which was the reason why a drum machine was used several times, but on The Rusty Wolff Attack he gives a demonstration of what he's capable of by doing a short solo on his kit.
Corvus Stone is a rather pleasant album in a beautifully designed package. My only negative criticism is the duration of almost eighty minutes. That's just too long to digest. They even wrote more music, which explains why they already have begun to record a successor. Hopefully the new album will last shorter, includes more vocal parts, but maintains the strong instrumental parts just like on this album!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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