From the moment you set eyes on the cover of Swedish band Siena Root's Far From The Sun you can have no doubts where they are coming from. Their faces appearing from amongst a sea of red and yellow pot-pourried hues announce without doubt the heavy debt to late sixties-early seventies psychedelia. Some of that era's music has not dated too well, in my opinion at any rate, but any concerns are dispelled within a few of the opening bars of "Dreams of Tomorrow": gorgeous guitar riffs and a singer with a fantastic rock voice, oozing with presence and that rare ability of being able to dominate the stage (I know this is just the CD, but you can dream too, can't you?).
Some people call this style of music "retro-rock". I'm not keen on "labels" and I particularly hate that one as it seems to suggest a slight on the music because it is not completely original. There is much to be said for writing and performing high-quality music of any genre, and this is what Siena Root deliver. OK, Led Zeppelin this is not, but you can listen to all of their great, original albums in one afternoon. And the very fact that Siena Root make you think of Led Zeppelin should be complement enough.
They also bring to mind other bands because of their heavy use of another trademark of that era, the Hammond organ. Ultimately, however, as in all good bands, their sound is their own. Whilst there are enough great riffs, occasional twin-guitar duelling and guitar-hooks to keep all axe victims satisfied, the soundscape is much more than that, with the organ in particular making a strong contribution as well as flute, xylophone and sitar.
There are quite a number of instrumental passages and changes of pace on Far From The Sun, so that whilst the album remains rooted in blues-influenced heavy rock, it does at times take on symphonic prog or even jazz-fusion flavors. The band are excellent musicians and all are given ample opportunity to display their proficiency.
Far From The Sun is the band's third album - unfortunately I haven't yet heard the other two but make no mistake that I will now be hunting them down!
Very classy rock - what more do you want?
1) Dreams of Tomorrow (03:08)
2) Waiting for the Sun (05:57)
3) Time Will Tell (05:49)
4) Almost There (07:49)
5) Two Steps Backwards (03:30)
6) Wishing For More (03:43)
7) The Summer Is Old (07:59)
8) The Break of Dawn (04:38)
9) Long Way From Home (10:10)