von hertzen brothers stars aligned
Released: 21 March 2011
If you live outside Finland, you may not be familiar with the fraternal Von Hertzen trio of Mikko, Kie and Jonne, but in their native land these modern prog-heads lead a life of number one albums, gold discs and Grammy awards.
Realistically, with many major music marketplaces increasingly falling victim to the blight of an X Factor-inspired need for instant gratification, it’s unlikely Stars Aligned is going to shoot the three brothers to the same levels of fame elsewhere, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that this is an intriguing and delicately crafted record.
To pinpoint it musically is a virtually impossible task, with perhaps the only predictable factor being the ability of any one of these nine songs to catch you completely off-guard at any given moment.
Take the twisting and turning Bring Out the Snakes as an example. A scintillating seven minute trip which starts off with an exploration of Floydian psychedelia before exploding into a riot of Prodigy meets Hawkwind dark electronics and climaxing with an uplifting vocal motif. If that sounds cumbersome on paper, in reality it’s effortlessly smooth.
The Von Hertzen Brothers make what should be the musically impossible seem like the most natural thing in the world and seal the deal with what are perhaps the most beautifully sublime vocal harmonies you’ll hear this side of the Beach Boys. And if you think Beach Boys style harmonies would never work in the context of modern progressive rock, perhaps you should re-read this review without passing go or collecting £200.
Or, better yet, forget about reading altogether and just go buy the album.
by Marcus Jervis