Although their previous albums showed up obvious similarities in style and substance to the output of a whole raft of contemporary US outfits, Finnish rock band, The Poets Of The Fall still sound like they were born and bred in some European urban sprawl. Arguably, the best of today’s rock bands are clearly exposed to and influenced by the convergence and intensity of different cultures. Their music is informed by a diversity of styles. Then again, maybe POTF grew up in some Finnish backwater and just listened to a lot of radio.
Either way, the band’s music messes with rock classicism, merging gothic, glam and mainstream transparently with metal and pop. It would’ve been unusual if the band’s sound had evolved in isolation. The result is challenging, but not in the conventional sense.
‘Temple Of Thought’ steps outside the narrow boundaries of genre and seeks its own path. It’s provocative, stimulating, intimate, with a thread of melancholy running through each song, tying the album together. Each track is a self contained story, a vignette, an experience. Generally based around the usual suspects of love found and love lost, with the protagonist baring his soul in the name of art. Marko – the band’s talented vocalist with only one name – pulls every last stitch of romantic desperation from opening track, ’Running Out Of Time’, and further reveals his innermost thoughts on ’Cradled in Love’ – a quietly epic semi acoustic ballad, on which he emotes in glorious falsetto splendour. And on ’The Lie Eternal‘, an ultra commercial, stadium-rock-meets-Roxy Music pop nugget that sweeps away the melancholy madness, for a few minutes at least.
The album quickly develops a confident rhythm, a heartbeat that pulses through each story, bringing it to life. The slow-building, sophisticated ’Skin’, segues seamlessly into the laid back electro rock of ’The Distance’, both songs with a distinct urbanity of tone. Then onwards into the cranked up guitar rock of ’Show Me This Life’ and finally to ’Temple Of Thought’s standout track, sitting there waiting to be found, hidden at the back end of the album. This song – ’The Ballad Of Jeremiah Peacekeeper’ – is an absolute beauty. The band’s measured sense of cadence and mood nicely balance string orchestrations, faux mariachi guitars and lush, bass heavy backing vocals, allowing Marko to make that emotional connection that is the hallmark of all good music, rock’n’roll or otherwise.
Rated 8 out of 10