It is always a negative when someone says they need something like a hole in the head, but when it applies to the Finnish rockabilly band of the same name the want is completely different, especially if talking about the band’s debut album Primitive Love. It is a ten track stomp bred in a rockabilly heart but involving spicy rhythm ‘n’ blues and broader rock ‘n’ roll adventure to create something not exactly unique but predominantly individual to Hole In The Head.
The Kuopio hailing band began in 1997, founded by vocalist/guitarist Sasse Savolainen. Two 7” EPs, Tornado Ride (2000) and Trouble Cruiser (2003) were well-received successes for a band also experiencing a few line-up changes. The summer of 2012 saw the quartet of Sasse, Brother Andy Liukko (guitar, harmonica, sax), Turkka (upright bass), and Laasanen (drums) begin recording Primitive Love with Tomi Leino at Suprovox Studio, Ikkala. In the wake of the recording though Laasanen left the band with Turkka subsequently leaving too. The remaining pair decided to carry on performing as the Sasse & Andy Duo and work towards releasing the album. New impetus to Hole in the Head after its near demise came with the recruitment of Tony Lehto (upright bass) and Joonas Hiltunen (drums), the band hitting the live scene again with force further backed by the 2015 release of Primitive Love.
A strong start to the album is made by Out of Hands, the opener coaxing ears with scuzzy guitar and the winy charm of Andy’s harmonica incitement. With punchy rhythms and inviting vocals, the enjoyable encounter is an easy to climb on board canter with swinging hips and excitable energy that has feet bouncing and attention aroused. Increasingly more virulent as it stomps into its dynamic climax, the track passes an already keen appetite over to the following Bad Luck Driver. Straight away a sultry and siren-esque psychobilly tang wraps ears as the bass of Turkka gets the instincts going with its delicious dark stroll. With beats just as enticing, the track only blossoms further as blues lined tempting escapes through a flirtatious sax as the potent tones of Sasse strike up further pleasure and satisfaction, each adding to the excellent Frantic Flintstones meets Ray Campi with a touch of Roy Hawkins like song.
From one big treat to another as the dark noir mystique of The Night Walk takes over, its blues/surf blend of temptation a smouldering seduction of spicy air and sound. The resonating elegance of the guitar comes with a great sinister swell to its tone whilst the rhythms perfectly temper that intoxication with understated but pungent repetition. Already song by song, Primitive Love gets thicker and bolder in adventurous invention, a trend continuing with the swiftly magnetic Let Me Be Your Heartbeat. Imagine The Stray Cats in collusion with Tiger Army without the haunting and you have the anthemic prowess of a gripping track only broadening in varied sound with each passing minute.
Vintage Kind of Fever leaps in with tenacious rhythms and an energetic swagger next, its fifties nurtured and robustly delivered rockabilly weave littered with flaming sax, scything guitar, and a rhythmic rumble to lose the body too. Addiction is inevitable as also through the bluesabilly romp of Rude Boy Blues, a mix of rousing enterprise and fiery flavouring at times reminding of The Shakin’ Pyramids. Both tracks are superb incitements to lose inhibitions to and quickly backed by the jazzy canter of Lonely Wolf, the song a Parisian touched harmonica wielding vagabond of a song which simply leads hips into an eager sway.
Rhythmic jabs and swinging hooks are the order of the day within Knock Out Boogie, bass and guitar hooks hypnotic bait as masterful vocals and bodacious sax lead the listener on a rebellious yet controlled dance before having to make way for the sixties R&B hued blues devilry of Wolf Girl. Bounding around with the scent of The Living End and Johnny Burnette to its insatiable energy and feverish character, the song just entices and incites like a frisky temptress.
The album is closed by Bondage Love, a track living up to hopes inspired by its title with its exotic melodic landscape and addictively nagging rhythms. Like a rapture driven shindig on the banks of the River Nile, further accentuated by the Madness like smooch of the sax, the track is pure manna for ears and rock ‘n’ roll passions; a claim easy to attach to the whole of Primitive Love.
It may have taken time to see the light of day, but Primitive Love hits the sweet spot with persistent ease whilst suggesting to the world that Finland has a rockabilly/R&B band which deserves real attention.
Primitive Love is out now @ http://hith.net/wordpress/shop/
Pete RingMaster 12/01/2016
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
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