Erja Lyytinen - 'Another World'

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Erja Lyytinen - 'Another World'

Erja Lyytinen proves she's one of Contemporary Blues' leading players.

After a turbulent time in Erja Lyytinen's private life led to the darker 'Stolen Hearts' release, the Finnish Blues musician returns refreshed with an upbeat, eclectic mix of Rock, Blues and Jazz elements.

The title-track is part ecological warning, part Sci-Fi love story and like the artwork that adorns the album cover, there is a widescreen movie feel about it. This track shows how far she has travelled as a song-writer over her eleven studio releases. A few big hitting guests also show up to endorse her blossoming talent. First to appear is Jennifer Batten (the ex-Michael Jackson guitarist) and she adds some heavy Rock guitar lines to the opener 'Snake In The Grass'. The second guest is "slide" legend Sonny Landreth, who peppers 'Break My Heart Gently' and drives 'Wedding Day'. The latter is a Blues shuffle and one of the few more traditional Blues compositions on offer.

Lyytinen has a gorgeous, thick melodic tone to her guitar playing. 'Cherry Overdrive' and the title-track both benefit from her honey-rich tone with strong extended solo sections, while 'Miracle' – which is about her young twins – has a strong, radio-friendly Adult Pop Rock hook.

Most often billed as a Blues guitarist, it can be easily overlooked that Lyytinen is a capable singer too. She has a broad range and is willing to take chances with her voice and phrasing. However, there are moments when I feel this is the area that sometimes isn't as exemplary as her guitar playing. It's when she sings the straighter Blues Rock tracks like 'Hard As Stone' that occasionally something doesn't quite gel; she opts for some peculiar phrasing that comes across as unnatural and just doesn't sit right, perhaps this approach is inspired by her Jazz influences. On songs such as the achingly beautiful 'Break My Heart Gently' and 'Torn' she adopts a wispier, more ethereal approach on the choruses, and this works a treat.

Outside of the odd moment of clunky phrasing, Erja Lyytinen proves she's one of Contemporary Blues' leading players and 'Another World' is testament to her talent, tenacity and willingness to push herself, both as a performer and song-writer.

Duncan Jamieson

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