Review: Erja Lyytinen – Voracious Love

Posted on: Monday, Nov 22, 2010

“Voracious Love”
(Ruf Records – RUF 1161)

The latest release from Finnish guitarist and singer Erja Lyytinen on Ruf Records, again spotlights her tasteful slide playing on a collection of mainly original songs – just one cover and a couple of co-writes – co-produced by herself and guitarist/keyboard player Davide Floreno, and recorded on home territory in Helsinki.

The songs on “Voracious Love” mainly deal with ‘affairs of the heart’, and veer from straight blues to rock and ballads, kicking off with the funky and tough groove of the title track, driven by Lyytinen’s guitar and Harri Taittonen’s fine Hammond organ work; this is followed by the driving “Don’t Let A Good Woman Down”, leading into the dark “Crowes At Your Door”, a bluesy ballad co-written with Jon Tiven, with some nice harmonica from Juki Valipakka and fine slide work from the lady herself.

The acoustic string-driven “Bed Of Roses” is a delight, a tale of lost love delivered from the heart – shades of American rockers Heart on this, with vocals shared by Marco Hietala, from the band Nightwish, and kudos to the string section of Paavo Lotjonen. Riikka Lampinen, Maija Linkola and Laura Airola. The pace is taken up on the electric slide-driven “Bird”, before the balladry of “Gilmore” returns us to Lyytinen’s softer side.

“Oil And Water” is a strutting blues, again dominated by Erja Lyytinen’s electric slide work and tasteful keyboard work from Harri Taittonen; “Can’t Fall In Love” is in soulful mode, and is followed by a tough rocker in “One Thing I Won’t Change”, which races out of the blocks.

The only cover here is a lovely stripped-down take on the classic Blind Willie Johnson song “Soul Of A Man”, and is very nice indeed, with the following instrumental, “The Road Leading Home” being almost a companion piece with Lyytinen’s amplified Supro 1952 sounding like the afore-mentioned bluesman, with the solo piece “No Place Like Home” – just acoustic guitar and vocal – bringing proceedings to a close.

Apart from the musicians mentioned but rest of the band are the rhythm section of Matti Vallius (bass) and Rami Eskelinen (drums and percussion), with additional musician  Zarkkus Poussa (drums and percussion).

To sum up, a beautifully produced and sounding release – which may not totally appeal to the blues purists out there, but Erja Lyytinen is a fine guitarist, and the variety of the songs keep it fresh and interesting, and give “Voracious Love” a contemporary edge.


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