Finnish slide guitarist / singer / writer Erja Lyytinen releases her new album, “Stolen Hearts” on Friday, 7th April – the follow-up to 2015’s “Live In London”, and the first studio album since her tribute to Elmore James, the 2014 release, “The Sky Is Crying”.
The 11 tracks here are all self-penned by the lady herself – including two collaborations, with “Stolen Hearts” being recorded in Helsinki and London, and produced by Chris Kimsey, who also mixed the album – and well known for his contributions to some of the Rolling Stones finest moments.
The tracks cover a ‘broad church’, with a blues template, but with touches of rock, country, funk and more . . . but with her trademark slide guitar work very much in evidence, and some mighty fine soloing to accompany her powerful vocals and words.
The opening title cut, “Stolen Hearts” is a tale of a ‘man eater’, which rides on a tough guitar riff, but with a gentler side too; the muscular rocker “Rocking Chair” is next up, with a stop-start guitar groove, with an almost Led Zeppelin feel to it . . . and some nice slide work; the pace is then taken down for the pretty “Love Laboratory”, with its funky bass line and keyboards.
The haunting “24 Angels” is a stand out – a tale about morality and forgiveness – with some weeping guitar, and is a co-write with songwriter and guitarist Alan Darby; the lengthy “Black Ocean” again rides on a memorable funky groove with lengthy guitar solo, but at seven minutes plus it never overstays its welcome.
Elsewhere, the uptempo slide tune “Lover’s Novels” drives along in fine style with highly impressive slide work again; the penultimate track “City Of Angels” recalls Erja Lyytinen’s time in Los Angels when she studied at the Musician’s Institute, and is a social commentary on things she saw and experienced there; the stripped down piano and voice on the lovely “Broken Eyes” brings this fine release to a close . . . with perhaps the best vocal of the whole album.
Review by – GRAHAME RHODES