Review: “Scales And Details” by Somehow Jo

Initially formed in 2009 by Sakari Karjalainen (Guitar) and Christian Saurén (Guitar, Vocals) it wasn’t until 2013 that Finnish Progressive Metal act Somehow Jo took its final form when Lassi Peiponen (Drums) and Eero Aaltonen (Bass, Vocals) joined the band. Taking two years to write and record their debut album and work on their chemistry, their self titled debut appeared in 2015 and features a guest appearance from Noora Louhimo from Battle Beast. A style shift of a kind then began with 2019’s “Tusk” as the band introduced musical humour, synths and slap riffs, all of which gained the band much respect as the album was incredibly well received and opened the door for them to begin touring. Fast forward to the present day and the bands third album came to life based on selecting the best ideas from jam sessions and working them into songs by adding complexities and lyrical narratives on subjects like Depression, blaming others for their own problems, not getting forward in life, failing and overcoming obstacles in the way…

…with immediate flavours of System Of A Down style theatrics “Fata Morgana” begins the third chapter of the career of Somehow Jo with a flamboyant style and grace. Bold clean vocals and synths fuel the fire of the songs eclectic and eccentric nature with moments that bring spark and life, offering something delicate and yet intriguing at the same time without being heavy and thus defying convention. It’s not until second cut “Friend” that the unclean vocals appear and inject some fire and brimstone into the record, however that is not to the detriment of any of the flamboyance or theatrics. The band instead continue to lead us like Alice into Wonderland by painting in light and shade, the solo of this one being a bright firework. Plini styled riffs then bring in “Cycle” which has hilarious touches of lyrical humour with lines like “toilet seat as a throne” bringing a smile. A collection of thoughts about the powers that be, it asks important questions without being obvious and adds to the fun in the same way that an album from Destrage would, having some very similar hallmarks. Funky basslines give “Spin” a different angle as a cut about the voice of self doubt that sits on your shoulder like a devil, filling your head with negativity. A tasty if a little short solo is hidden in this one while clever use of different vocal styles and layering give a well rounded feel to something very well crafted. Rich melodies continue to flow through “RUSH“, a cut about enjoying the beauty of a moment as the band shine with Progressive Metal riffs and bold sing-a-long moments that have a broad appeal without the band selling their souls to Satan and chasing commercial success. The key is balance, the line is fine but here the band create something not only warm and captivating but enthralling at the same time.

Following something majestic can be troublesome but with “When It Falls“, Somehow Jo dial back to something more eclectic with funkier 70’s riffs that turn the head. It’s an interesting move and its thoughtful lyric is a thought provoking one in keeping with the rest of the album. “Getaway” follows suit in style with thoughts on wanting to escape, switch off and tap out from a World with too many opinions flying at us from every direction, something which resonates in the Internet Age. Clever and well thought out, it doesn’t feel as overbearing as it could while the melodies keep things flowing like a river to the sea at a steady pace, allowing you to enjoy the scenery that accompanies the journey. Soaring like an Eagle “Rising Sun” brings back the majestic soundscape of “RUSH” before closing on a stunning solo, its complex riffs and aching beauty a joy to behold. A love song of a kind, it speaks of the connection felt between like minded souls who spring into each others thoughts whatever the distance. Finishing on a high with the slow burning atmosphere building “Mirror” that encapsulates the entire album in a single movement, the flame undying until the very last moment. After almost a decade, Somehow Jo have created their finest work to date with rule-bending song writing, the caressing the grooves that have emerged from casual jamming and working them into the finished product like a Potter at a wheel [8/10]

Track Listing

1. Fata Morgana
2. Friend
3. Cycle
4. Spin
5. RUSH
6. When It Falls
7. Getaway
8. Rising Sun
9. Mirror

Scales And Details” by Somehow Jo is out 16th September 2022 via Inverse Records with pre-orders available over at bandcamp

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