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Scapa Flow - Uuteen Aikaan CD (album) cover

UUTEEN AIKAAN

Scapa Flow

 

Prog Folk

3.61 | 15 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Forming in Helsinki, Finland in 1976, prog-folk group Scapa Flow delivered a sole release in 1980, their debut album `Uuteen Aikaan'. Despite containing plenty of typical acoustic folk characteristics, the band here also incorporated harder rock drumming, constant organ/synth flavours and electric guitar soloing, with flute and saxophone player Ismo Järvinen and female singer Pia-Maria Noponen alternating lead vocals, both sounding especially pleasing when singing alongside each- other. The album therefore maintains a good balance between lighter folk qualities, warm harmonies and more ambitious progressive instrumental flourishes, and it turns out to be a charming and rather special work overall.

After a haunting opening of eerie keyboards and Pia-Maria's voice full of wounded longing, `Valmiina Heräämään' springs to life with flighty flute, snappy drumming and soaring electric guitar runs, with a final ambitious group vocal around organ to close on. Rainstorm ambience backs `Salaisuuksien Satiiniverhot', Ismo's softly crooned voice accompanied by lovely chiming acoustic guitar and wafting playful flute trills, where lead guitar and synth washes take on beautiful and joyous Camel-like romantic textures. Gorgeous murmuring bass and flute prance through pleasant vocal piece `Mikä Aamu', a darker interlude in the middle bringing powerful drums and delirious synth runs with wild commanding saxophone outbursts.

The second side opens just as strong with the title track `Uuteen Aikaan', a soft yet languid acoustic guitar and flute lament. `Tuuleen Kaiverretut Portaat' is a melancholic piano ballad sung by Pia-Maria, and despite it having a noticeably poorer sound quality than the rest of the album (almost sounding like a demo), it achieves a stark and reflective honesty. `Koi' is a brief sprightly instrumental that would have easily fit alongside `Six Ate' off Camel's debut album, acoustic guitars strumming feverishly to spirited flute and leaping upfront bass. Closer `Askel Ylöspäin' is a dizzying and addictive mix of unhinged drumming, swirling spacy synth effects, frantic acoustic guitars and male and female voices singing in unison, with spikier saxophone and constant electric guitar soloing weaving in and out. It showcases the incredible talent all the band had, and it only hints at directions they could have headed in, sadly not to be.

`Uuteen Aikaan' is an ideal album for those not usually interested in folk music, as this adds plentiful progressive rock elements, making the mix much more approachable than usual. It occasionally reminds of Sandrose's self-titled album with its striking female lead over symphonic prog flavours, and its ample use of flute, organ and symphonic guitars could be warmly received by fans of Camel. It may be short at barely thirty four minutes, but each of the seven pieces quickly reveal a lavish assortment of sounds and styles with very carefully considered arrangements and skilful playing. Those progressive music collectors who already have a large amount of titles that are always on the lookout for some obscure yet utterly worthwhile additions to their collection would find Scapa Flow's album very rewarding, and this single little debut album is truly something to be cherished!

Learn to love the album, and it's well worth four stars!

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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