Permanent Clear Light are a rather new band from Finland formed in 2009, although the individual band members have a long history in the Finnish rock, pop, folk rock, jazz, experimental, avant-garde and psychedelic scenes. Markku Helin (guitars, E-Bow+, Theremin, oscillators, bass, effects), Arto Kakko (percussion, vocals, electric violin, bass, Mellotron, slide guitar, cornet, banjo, saz) and Matti Laitinen (lead vocals, guitar, synths,) recently released their debut album Beyond These Things.
On this album you'll hear all the influences they gained over the years while playing in all the above-mentioned Finnish music scenes. The eight tracks on Beyond These Things contain music that goes in the direction of the psychedelic sound that characterized the early albums recorded by Pink Floyd, but also The Beatles crossed my mind especially during the era of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Magical Mystery Tour (1967). Psychedelic songs like I Am The Walrus and Strawberry Fields Forever must have inspired the band a lot. The same kind of Mellotron flutes can often be heard just as the experimental and exotic sitar sound, and even the vocals often sound like the 'fab four'.
However, the frequent use of the Mellotron provides Beyond These Things the progressive rock sound that we all like to hear so much. They also play instruments that aren't that often used in prog rock like the cornet, the banjo and a saz - a kind of Turkish string instrument. They give the band a kind of weird but beautiful sound. The compositions mostly sound rather laid-back and mellow, sounding excellently at the beginning of the album but gradually become a bit less interesting towards its end. It seems as if I had more difficulties to remain focussed during the last numbers.
This doesn't mean that my judgment for Beyond These Things will become negative. I had a good time listening to the first effort of Permanent Clear Light which brings this album on the positive side of the rating. People who liked the psychedelic eras from Pink Floyd and The Beatles are advised to try this one out.
*** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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