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Yaffa, Sami: The Innermost Journey To Your Outermost Mind

Hanoi Rocks, New York Dolls, the criminally underrated Demolition 23 and being an integral part of the Michael Monroe band is already the stellar CV built up by bassist Sami Yaffa, so maybe the biggest surprise about The Innermost Journey To Your Outermost Mind is that it’s Yaffa’s first foray into the solo world. Of course, the first thing he’s gone and done is build a top-line band for this endeavour, drummer Jaane Haavisto alongside guitarists Rich Jones (Michael Monroe/Ginger Wildheart) and Timo Kaltio, with appearances from Stone Sour guitarist Christian Martucci and Rane Raitsikka, who is best known for his time with the band Smack.

So with that all taken care of, Yaffa has set about covering all of the punked up rock bases that you could ever hope for. Some, like the frantic outburst of “Selling Me Shit” - he ain’t buying it - is vital and vibrant, although the occasional side-step, such as the horrible punk-ska-reggae of “Rotten Roots”, not so much, and it’s not alone. Admittedly, those issues are maybe more mine that Sami’s, with reggae and ska officially on my ‘I don’t get it’ list, but thankfully there’s much more here to fully engage with than to avoid. “Cancel The End Of The World”, which closes the album out, might be the best ramshackle exclamation I’ve heard in quite some time, the languid nature at its heart utterly beguiling, whereas “I Can’t Stand It” and its electro-beats and fuzzed up guitars feels like some cyborgian attack by ZZ Top at their most blues-bustin’.

The attitude throughout is deceptive, for it would be easy to think that this album was thrown together in a handful of pissed up sessions, such is its laid back atmosphere. And yet, it’s virtually impossible to sound this dishevelled and still end up with a collection of vibrant punky goodness unless you know exactly what you’re doing. And Sami and the guys sure as hell know what’s what, “Germinator” (the most Demolition 23 like track on this album) boring a hole in your head with biting guitars and a snarling vocal, “Armageddon Together” surging and sliding like the offspring of Iggy Pop, while “Last Time” once more brings out the fuzz with maximum effect.

Personally I can do without the occasional diversions into the worlds of ska and reggae that, being fair to TIJTYOM, is indicative of this style of music. But those unwelcome moves aside, what’s been conjured up here is as honest, engaging and hard hitting as you ever hoped it would be from a guy who has lived the life that Sami Yaffa has.

Track Listing
1. Armageddon Together
2. Selling Me Shit
3. Fortunate One
4. Rotten Roots
5. Germinator
6. Down At St. Joe’s
7. I Can’t Stand It
8. You Gimme Fever;
9. The Last Time
10. Look Ahead
11. Cancel The End Of The World

Added: September 4th 2021
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Sami Yaffa @ facebook
Hits: 400
Language: english

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