Tõnis Kahu’s review

Album of the week: guitar fairy tales

Tõnis Kahu

After years of standing slightly left of the spotlight, guitar player Kalle Vilpuu (Seitsmes Meel, Ultima Thule) has reached his first solo album. Euphoria and excitement are well earned, as are certain problems of course. Nothing overly serious – oh no – however there is a slight conflict of interests here. In other words – whether to follow one’s compositional ambitions or trust one’s instrumental instincts? As a composer, Vilpuu (first and foremost) brushes against various branches of prog rock veiled in folk and arrives at fluctuating results. The over-composed opening track „Anomalies“ is somehow cramped due to its own possibilities and never really takes off. Towards the end of the album we find „The Touch of Angel“ that is nice to us for a while only to never really find its solution. Things are greatly improved when it comes to „Forgiven“ with its pastoral flute melody, the pathos of which is turned searchingly inward by well-chosen undertones and vibrations, like fragments of Vilpuu’s voice and Indrek Kuusimaa’s flamenco guitar. Potential abundance of timbre would, however, last longer in one’s
ears had production been more refined and sharper here (and concerning the rest of the album).

Yet it seems that Vilpuu remains a guitar player above all even on his own record and naturally needs the help of others to stretch his musical wings. Two names stand out in particular – bass player Henno Kelp and drummer Andrus Lillepea allow him to plant his feet on a strong foundation and move on a safely and precisely anchored platform. „Industrial No. 4“, „In the Back of My Head“ with its masterful keyboards trill and the oriental color of „The Aliens (Have Landed)“ serve as good introductory examples. Vilpuu is a guitarist not prone to mystification of his sources of sound – his method of constructing solos is easy to follow and just surprising enough to stay one step ahead of predictability. We will never lose sight of him this side of the speakers, and to say that one can play „air guitar“ to this music, is to say if not all then quite a lot still. 6/10.

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