I can’t say that I like the name but as it is an in-joke derived from the direct translation of the name of Finnish professional tennis player Veli Paloheimo, I think I’ll let them off.
This Finnish quintet specializes in big-sounding AOR and this album is no exception. Sunbound may not rip your guts out like Manowar or have you navel-gazing like Pink Floyd but in their chosen field they certainly deliver the goods.
Throughout this record, all the band members show that they are extremely proficient in their chosen field. For a kick off Pekka Ansio Heino has the ideal voice for this genre, silky and rounded but with the odd spoonful of gravel tossed in to give it a nice edge.
Pekka, however, doesn’t make an appearance on the opening track, “Sunbound”, which is the now obligatory instrumental opening, heavy on Tomi Nikulainen’s keyboards leading into a taste of what guitarist Emppu Vuorinen can do.
The album is full of uplifting singalong tracks driven powerfully by drummer Hannes Pirilä and bassist Jason Flinck. There’s the odd swing and a miss but there aren’t many offerings out there without those.
The one thing each and every song does possess is a quality solo courtesy of Emppu Vuorinen. He does fast, slow, emotional and just plain rockin’, all fitting with the songs which we all prefer. No noodling here, my friends.
Hits include “Help Is On The Way” which is a rollicking start to the album proper and “Taste Of A Champion” comes with a cracking solo. The highlight for me, though, is “Big City Dream” about a girl with a, er, big city dream. Full of passion and emotion at a perfect pace this hit the spot, no doubt. This is Brother Firetribe’s “Don’t Stop Believin’”.
The biggest disappointment for me was the homage to fallen legends of music, “Indelible Heroes”. It’s always nice to hear your heroes name-checked, in this case, Bowie, Prince and Lemmy (sort of) but the song just trudges along and made me wonder if they wrote the song because they felt they had to.
Anyway, I’m not going to end on a negative as Sunbound is an album full of quality including the songs I’ve mentioned plus “Give Me Tonight” and “Restless Heart” among others.
If you like your AOR then this is definitely one for your collection.