Game Changing

Tuomo & Markus

Independent release, 2022

http://tuomomarkus.com

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/26/2022

Hailing from Finland, Tuomo Prättälä and Markus Nordenstreng have recorded under a couple of different monikers; formerly Pratt & Moody, they have simplified things (and, in my humble opinion, embraced their Nordic roots further) by being Tuomo & Markus.

Frankly, regardless of the name, I think these two gentlemen are pretty talented.

Their latest release Game Changing is a complex and layered piece of what on first listen appears to be folk with a strong thread of Nordic music. (I think I heard a Stavanger fiddle in there somewhere. No album credits on advance releases, so I’m not sure. I know there was an accordion and a clarinet.)my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

However, as you dive deeper, Game Changing has some elements to it that add levels of pleasant complication to it. There’s a strong prog-rock and jazz presence; a little Ian Anderson flute here, a little Rick Wakeman synthesizer there, and a smooth horn line on “Love’s Coming Down.”

Sometimes they shift their musical presence entirely, as in “Hecho In Mexico,” a sorrowful ballad about The Wall and what it would mean (and a sharp criticism of American border policy to boot); “Hecho” is a soft, sad mariachi number.

The centerpiece of all this, however, is their voices. Tuomo and Markus harmonize easily and beautifully; their musical lines weave around each other elegantly. While their advance promotional material cites Crosby Stills & Nash or Simon & Garfunkel as comps, I think there’s a lot more Seals & Crofts there; that same gentle harmony. There’s also a bit of Duncan Sheik or Nick Drake in their songwriting, and as far as I’m concerned that’s a damned good thing.

Specific highlights include: the title track; “Wishful Information,” a tongue-in-cheek examination of our digital lifestyles; “We’re Not Buying It,” in which two Scandinavian guys channel Bobby Womack; and the breathtaking “Galway,” a strong contender for the best single track I’ve heard this year. On the downside, I cannot get into “Aliens With Extraordinary Talent”; it sounds like it’s experimental and weird for the same of being—well—experimental and weird.

Tuomo & Marcus are extremely talented, and Game Changing is an outstanding example of that talent. It comes strongly recommended.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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