Greenrose Faire – Feed The Flames
Several months ago we were pleasantly surprised as out of the blue two CD’s popped into the mailbox. They were by a Finnish band that we had never heard of,
A band originally formed by Tomi Hyttinen and Niilo Sirola with a background in hard rock music, they started this group with only one rule: “No electric guitars”. And for this I say: Thank you! Because even though I do appreciate the odd electric guitar riff, Greenrose Faire has created their own unique style of music, and it definitely makes me happy!
Track 1: Too Hot To Stop
I first fell in love with their music when listening to their previous album Home Is Where The Heart Is. The clarity of the vocals, the catchy tunes, the lyrics that conjure up deep seated feelings, it combines all of that in a very well blended musical experience. But enough about their last album, we were fortunate enough to get the new one before the album release and do a review on that! For this review we took a slightly different approach. We reviewed one track at a time, and asked Greenrose Faire to supply us with some background on the tracks from their perspective.
Powerful and energetic from the start. This song has some very tight drum sections. There is a definite party atmosphere in the chorus. I would consider this to be a great track to end a concert with. You know, before the encore, because they are too hot to stop!
It’s the first track of the album and it starts the fire that will not go out. This will also be the opening song at our coming live shows, and it is to remind everyone to get on their feet, put their hands in the air, and give in to the music and stomp and dance and leave all the mundane worries aside for a while.
Track 2: Freedom
An epic song, telling a story. The violin is very moving in the track, later it becomes highly energized, and a game starts between the violin and the keys. There is some serious bass in this track, I really enjoyed that! The song keeps you captivated from start to finish, over six minutes. I’m loving the vocals, same as I did their previous album.
I love song of epic proportions in the vein of Braveheart. How Deep Love Can Be? It also has a 3-minute violin/organ speed solo in the middle, because, why not?
Track 3: The Tavern
The song starts off feeling very medieval, and I’m definitely feeling the tavern here! It slowly but steadily builds up momentum and mass, and then the party starts! It makes me want to grab a tankard of ale, and maybe a barmaid for a dance. “Here we go, here we celebrate the day!”
This is hats off to all the world’s taverns. When you feel that you have to go raise one or two pints to the parched lips, it is comforting to know there’s your own tavern where the staff is waiting just for you!
Track 4: Here Waiting
It starts off quite laid back, and with a title like “here waiting” it definitely creates a feeling of anticipation. Sounding rather intimate, I feel a close connection with the person waiting. Varying in intensity, the song keeps the listener interested in the rest of the story throughout. I hope she found the love she was waiting for.
This was one of the very first songs Tomi wrote for Greenrose Faire, and now we felt it was finally time to put it on tape in the grandeur it deserves. It’s of a love story through dark times, and of waiting and longing and not knowing if you’ll ever see your love again.
Track 5: Tell You A Story
The track starts off very interesting! It has a very intriguing rhythm, somewhat of a tribal feel. The bass in the drums reverberate thought-out the body, I really want to hear this track through some massive stage speakers. Even though I really noticed the drums, the rest of the instruments, as well as the vocals, are very well-balanced. A quote from the track is “share the feeling with me”. Well, to me this track feels like sitting around a fire in a cave in the mountains, with good friends, drinking, laughing and sharing stories. Listened to it a couple of times in a row.
This song is about a mystical place where people once gathered to tell and listen to stories. It is not an easy place to find but it’s worth the trouble. This was also written during the very first demo sessions but has went through various arrangements and styles, before settling into this minimalistic jig-style arrangement featuring bodhran player Tuuli Rantala.
Track 6: Long Time Ago
Nostalgia reigns supreme with this song. Maybe not the most powerful or energetic track on the album, but a good sound to take you back to older days. This track is very smooth, maybe even slippery, but Greenrose Faire keeps it on track and takes it home.
Long time ago an a place far away… A melancholy song of times long gone. This might be closest to Finnish schlager we’ve ever gone, and features prominently Pete’s Indian travelling harmonium to keep things interesting.
Track 7: Running Away From My Dreams
This sounds like it will be amazing live with an enthusiastic crowd. It’s hard to sit still with such energy blasting from the speakers. Also, it’s these types of tracks that make me happy I don’t have any neighbours. A very danceable track, running away from dreams has never sounded like such a party.
This differs from all the other songs in that we did not have a change to play it together at all before hitting the studio, so it came together piece by piece in the recording phase. Therefore it’s a bit of a surprise that it turned out to be maybe the most fun of all to play live. This song definitely called for Hurdy-Gurdy, so we got Lajos Oláh to play some. The story is about a virtuous and down to earth girl who for some reason has dreams of being famous and beautiful and shallow, and abhors the idea when waking up.
Track 8: Together We’re Strong
More dancing, only this time it’s more like organised Balfolk dancing. Not only is that the feel that the sound gives, but the lyrics, “take my hand, I will guide you through the night, and see, together we’re strong” certainly sound like an invitation to dance to me. The violin play in this track sounds more classical then folk to my ears, but the overall atmosphere of the song does scream “Greenrose Faire”, and it’s a testament to the versatility of the band if you ask me.
The text was originally that of a grimy battle song, but for some reason that did not go well with the upbeat melody so it was reworked as an ode to camaraderie. Whatever comes, together we’ll survive anything. This was as true in the old times as it is today.
Track 9: Feed The Flames
The title track of the album, this song is very typical of the group, as it definitely combines the somewhat older Folky feel with many modern influences. A song with lots of body, there is never a dull moment throughout the track.
This is one of the few songs we had already played live before starting recording it, so we already knew it well, and it then rightly became the title song of the album as well. It sums up perfectly the themes of the album: roaring fire, loyal company and good stories. No matter how dark and cold it is, no one is left alone.
Track 10: Laulan, Luritan
The final track of the album, unfortunately. But the band did save a surprise for us. For this last song they mixed it up with not only a different lead singer, but also a different language. Salla steps aside to give way to Tomi, who sings this song in Finnish rather than English. A whole other direction for the band as far as we know, one more example that Greenrose Faire will not be pinned down if they don’t want to.
Tomi has often been asked to sing a song, but it was not until coming up with this song and text before he agreed to. The text is in Finnish and uses a bit archaic language in places, so good luck finding out what it is the hairy guy is singing about…
After having listened to the entire album several times I can definitely say that Feed The Flames delivers a sound that we have grown to expect from Greenrose Faire, without sounding “more of the same”. The rock influences and love for acoustic folk combine to a unique style that reverberates not only through this album, but it also combines it with their previous work. The songs are long but stay interesting, the band members are skilled and versatile, and together they make up a winning formula, whatever type of song they play. It’s a style that we hope to be able to enjoy for many years to come!
Choosing a favourite track from this album wasn’t very easy. Two songs competed closely, but in the end The Tavern had to give way to Tell You A Story. The interesting rhythms, the feeling it invokes of sharing a great evening with great friends, it all adds up to a marvellous song that for me captures the essence of what I feel about this band and this album.
It’s worth noting that Greenrose Faire are working their way down to the rest of Europe, with at least one Dutch show planned so far at
in September. If you’re able to attend one of their shows I would highly recommend it. I know we will!
Greenrose Faire are:
Salla Rimmi – lead vocals
Hanna Heinonen – violin
Niilo Sirola – bouzouki
Petri Hannuksela – keyboards
Jari Tiittanen – bass
Tomi Hyttinen – drums & backing vocals