Let’s go back to Finland for a look at a band that has been around since the early nineties – Too Sophisticated. Their latest album The Art of Making Noise arrived on my doormat and I headed straight for the CD player for some Finnish style noise making.
Formed in Seinajoki their first release was a single Like a Dog which built on their live shows and helped add to their growing local cult status. Two albums followed Shut Up, Sit Down in 2001 and The Sweet Kings of Rock n Roll in 2005. The independently released The Art of Making Noise was actually self-released last year but, as if often the case, it's finding it hard to break out of Scandinavia.
What we have is a five track CD which is a mix of glam-rock, rock, and well put down sleaze that deserves to be heard outside of their own Too Sophisticated circles. The band are Sativa Sunrise (vocals), Mike DeLight and Raise (guitars), Viki Rock (bass) and Juffe (drums) – all of which are, in the great tradition of rock growing old disgracefully. Opening with the title track they whet the appetite with a ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ vibe delivered with a punk hook. When a band comes out of Finland and offers up glam fused hard, punk rock then the inevitable Hanoi Rocks mention has to be made. That said, and out of the way, let’s move on and talk about the band in hand, so to speak.
The second track, one of the CD’s highlights, “Lonely Hollow Desert Echo” kicks off with a great Stones lick and some strangely Alex Harvey sounding vocals. “Song Without Message” has Eddie Cochrane meeting the Sex Pistols. It’s a song without a message alright but zips along and would be good to see live.
“If I Could Fly” opens brightly with a stomping riff and atmospheric background and chorus that stays in your head long after it fades away. “Whenever We’re Together” has hints of Ian Hunter. This is, however, good honest rocking and brings this rough and ready CD to a rather premature end amid some sampled crowd cheers.
Too Sophisticated are without doubt a live band and I am sure that this material makes for a great live gig. Meanwhile the influences slap you across the face in a not too sophisticated way. When put on CD it must be like trying to capture a genie in a bottle but you come out of it with a feel good sense of fun and wanting more.