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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 38 - 11/23/99

Finn Coren
Lovecloud
Bard Records

Two years ago, I raved in these pages about Finn Coren's 'comeback' album, The Blake Project: Spring. Last year he released a new collection of songs where he put music to William Blake's poetry, called The Blake Project; Spring, The Appendix. In 1997, he had not released anything for about seven years, but now he is back again with another full length Release.

Many have been curious about the material Coren recorded after the Full Moon In March, and Lovecloud consists mostly of older songs, probably intended for a follow-up to his first solo release some time in the early nineties (late 80's ... - editor's note). Different versions of two of the songs here have been released earlier, Shake Up The World was on a CD collection with a Norwegian magazine, and Darling Downs was his second single back in 1988 (Luna Records!!!). These songs has also given name to the two 'sides' on this CD, Poppermost (a line from the song Shake Up The World) and Darling Downs respectively.

So, what can be said about this record then? From the first second, we are met by the same 'sound' we are used to from The Blake Project CDs, wide open and deliciously produced, and played by top musicians as always. Lovecloud is more laid back, poppier even, than its predecessors, and string arrangements have been added to quite a few of the songs. Finn Coren is a bit of a Lennon (and Beatles) buff of course and his way of singing has often been compared to David Bowie. I did an interview with him back in 1989, when his first LP came out. He was talking with engagement about (among other things) Kevin Ayers and the early Soft Machine. These musicians have inspired him, but as always, Coren is first and foremost himself. This time he has done most of the lyrics himself, and as far as I can see, he has done a pretty good job at that, too.

The first track that gets your attention is Smile (also out as a single), probably the most 'commercial' song Coren has ever released, and it has gained a bit airplay as well (another glorious Mellotron, but isn't it a bit too Mantovani on the string arrangement side?). The more introvert side of his music is represented on Poison Girl, complete with two of Coren's long time collaborators, Nils-Arne Øvergård on guitars and Ulf Holand's programming and tape effects.

As mentioned above, Shake Up The World has been out before, and it has been a personal favourite since it appeared on the Rock Furore CD in 1993. This re-recording (based on the original) is as potent as ever with screeching Mellotron (unheard of in 1991!) multi-layers of voices and guitars. It is the most 'rocky' track here, the only small drawback being the mixing of Berit Lohne's backing vocals.

There is no problem finding highlights on this record, I just have to mention the last track where Coren duets with Velvet Belly's Anne Marie Almedal on a gentle, exciting interpretation of John Lennon's Grow Old With Me. The string arrangement here by composer Jon-Øivind Ness is also worth mentioning.

So, another brave, dare I say triumphant, release from Finn Coren, I guess it's time for a concert soon?

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You may also want to check out our Finn Coren articles/reviews: I draumar fær du : Dikt Av Olav H. Hauge, På jorden et sted : Utvalgte nordiske dikt, The Blake Project, Part 1 & 2.

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