An odd band name and an even odder CD title, but The Return of the Clown from Finnish supergroup Crazy World is anything but odd. Comprised of Five Fifteen vocalist Mika Jarvinen, the much traveled keyboard player Esa Kotilainen (Wigwam, Jukka Tolenen, Tasavallan Presidenti), drummer Anssi Nykanen (Pekka Pohjola), bassist Lauri Porra (Stratovarius), and veteran guitarist Timo Kamarainen, the members of Crazy World certainly have plenty of experience in the world of progressive rock, hard rock, and heavy metal, and this pedigree shows on The Return of the Clown.
Billed as as a 'rock opera', The Return of the Clown is a story about a motorcycle riding carnival clown and his son, and the booklet is set up much like a comic book and gives a little insight to the storyline. The music is '70s inspired prog & hard rock, as the band draws on influences such as Deep Purple, Yes, Uriah Heep, The Beatles, Jethro Tull, Genesis, and Pink Floyd. If you love plenty of guitar & keyboard solos, then you've come to the right place, as both Kamarainen & Kotilainen make their mark in a big way. Kotilainen, who should be no stranger to fans of Finnish progressive rock, lends his Hammond B-3 organ, Mellotron, and Moog passages all over this album, giving a song like "The Clown in a Swing" a real Deep Purple/Uriah Heep feel with the Hammond, and "I Think I Saw My Brothers Eyes" more of a Pink Floyd vibe thanks to some spacey Moog lines. Through it all, singer Jarvinen sounds fantastic, his rich, melodic vocals hitting the mark and portraying each character in the story. Check out his crafty delivery on the rocking "You're So Vain", a tune also noteworthy for plenty of scorching, wah-wah licks from Kamarainen, who does his best Mick Box impression. "She Could Be Your Mother" has a folky hard rock feel, a neat mix of Led Zeppelin and The Beatles, complete with ultra-catchy vocal hooks, and the awesomely addicting "Clown's Gotta Go" rages with an intensity that is like a meeting of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and Cheap Trick, with Kotilainen's Hammond leading the charge. The rock opera concludes in fine prog-rock fashion with "Mrs Politician", "The Return of the Clown" and "Lay It Down", complete with plenty of vintage styled keyboards, melodic vocals, some rousing riffs, and lush atmosphere.
The CD also contains two bonus live tracks, one of which is a stellar version of Led Zeppelin's classic "Since I've Been Loving You", a great vehicle for both Jarvinen & Kamarainen. For lovers of '70s prog & hard rock, The Return of the Clown is something you are going to want to seek out immediately.
1. Every Good Wish All To You 10:10
2. I Think I Saw My Brothers Eyes 4:57
3. The Clown In A Swing 5:36
4. You're So So Vain 7:56
5. Pearls Before Swine 3:41
6. She Could Be Your Mother 3:56
7. From Son To Father 3:51
8. Clown's Gotta Go 4:39
9. Mrs Politician 6:05
10. The Return Of The Clown 8:55
11. Lay It Down 3:26
12. Since I'Ve Been Loving You (Live) 11:00
13. The Clown In A Swing (Live) 5:31