Album Reviews : Markus Saastamoinen – Puzzle Pieces
A little background on Markus Saastomoinen: he is a Melbourne-based singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and currently frontman for extremely promising progressive heavy rock outfit Cirrus Crown. This is his debut solo record.
And it’s an interesting ride, with a broad musical palette and good depth of songwriting. Opening with the short, evocative voice and piano piece A Strange Silence, the album proper kicks off in a style you might imagine, coming from a member of an Australian prog rock act, with its longest and most progressive track, Puzzle Piece.
However, if you thought it was going to be another heavily Cog and Karnivool-influenced Aussie prog album, think again. Saastomoinen takes a sharp turn to the left on Clones. Here we get the first taste of something that pervades much of the rest of the album, a strong 60s influence on the songwriting. In fact, Clones sounds like something George Harrison might have done in his post-Beatles career. Lullaby reminds one of The Beatles’ Oh Darling. I can hear The Beatles, The Hollies, The Beach Boys and the like in the melodies and the songcraft in pretty much everything except for the aforementioned Puzzle Piece and the stomping Truth, Lies & in Between. He even brings some very 50s and 60s gospel-esque a-capella to the table on Bring Him Home, which closes proceedings in ear-pleasing and unexpected style.
The fact that he brought the great man, former Southern Sons guitarist and founding member Peter ‘Reggie’ Bowman, in on production, songwriting and musical inspiration duties only added further aural lustre to this sweet-sounding project.
Puzzle Pieces is a great name for this record, it’s quite an enigmatic puzzle that pieces together to make one rather cohesive and listenable whole. This record is well worth a moment of your time to check out.
Band: Markus Saastomoinen
Album: Puzzle Pieces
Genre: 60s influenced prog rock