REVIEW: POETS OF THE FALL – “Ultraviolet”
Born and bred in Helsinki, Finland, alternative rockers Poets Of The Fall burst on to the scene with their instantly well received debut album, ‘Signs Of Life’ in 2005 . Since their illustrious first effort, the band has since gone from strength to strength, instilling a boisterous anticipation surrounding the October, 2018 release of their new album entitled, ‘Ultraviolet’. Though jump in not head first, for the bands eight studio album may come as a surprise to some.
Opening number, “Dancing On Broken Glass” was teased as one of the records leading singles, and it is, unarguably, a well executed, swooning pop song. A slight change in direction from the beloved riff hooks some may have grown accustomed to and come to expect. But brace yourself, for if that takes you by surprise, your shock is only sure to escalate. “My Dark Disquiet” falls flat somewhere between a band unsure as to whether they are trying to write a pop or a rock song. Whatever the case, it fails to deliver a good account of either one. As does “False Kings” which, outside of its seductive, Jazzy sway, drops disappointingly by the wayside, also.
The first true sign of life on ‘Ultraviolet’ comes in the form of “Fools Paradise”, with a performance from vocalist Marko Saaresto that leaves you hanging on every syllable. Evidently attempting to execute their vision in the same vain as its predecessors, this time Poets Of The Fall succeed in doing so. The balance is brilliantly struck with a soft rock song doused in commercial production. If some have done it better, with Shiny Toy Guns serving as what would have been an unsurprising core influence for this record, overall Poets Of The Fall make a respectable effort.
Another album highlight lives within “The Sweet Escape”. On the one hand, it may sound to some like Pat Benatar’s “Love Is A Battlefield” performed on Xanax. On the other, it retains its own unique charm and pull that sees it live among the best the record has to offer. This is, unfortunately, a sentiment experienced few and bar between the songs, with many not on par with the calibre of music these musicians have shown they can produce. A prime example of these downfalls can be recognised in “Angel”. The only memorable part of which is its almost cringe worthy chorus, with a musical backdrop that echoes an 80’s workout montage video your Mother or Father might have spent their mornings with while rocking the stair master.
Initially, it is tempting to say that ‘Ultraviolet’ sees a band in a transition of sorts. But it actually goes deeper than that, and deserves to be judged on its own merit, as a rock band trying to write a pop album. This is a record of songs written by musicians who feel like they were afraid to commit to a vision. Part generic rock, part textbook pop, it is all and none of both, with a painfully, squeaky clean, polished finish. Poets Of The Fall have demonstrated that they are exceptionally strong songwriters several times over, however that is not reflected on ‘Ultraviolet’. Instead, what we have is what feels like an opportunity missed as opposed to a risk taken, as this record doesn’t promote the bands best work.