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Primal Production Is a Powerful Thing

25 April 2007

Wentus Blues Band took the note that after the pompous and even theatrical anniversary parties it is time to get back behind the mule and plough. The new album "Agriculture" proves the move was a right one.

Wentus Blues Band, which hails from Kokkola,on the west-coast of Finland, celebrated their 20-year career last autumn at the historic Russian Emperor’s theatre with a three-night anniversary concert series. The happening, Family Meeting, was cultivated with star guests from Louisiana Red to Eddie Kirkland and from Mick Taylor to Sven Zetterberg.
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In the year 2007 they took a step backwards in the trade and returned to primal production.

Wentus Blues Band has done a lot of steelhard road work as the backing group for many top names in the business, but now they are out standing on the field on their own. The attention now focuses on the band itself and no outside tows is needed on gigs or for the studio work.

Bluelight Records has breeded Wentus Blues Band´s agricultural political manifest into an album, aptly titled "Agriculture". It delights with its free-flowing and even joyous tone. There isn´t a bit of dull work-mode, and it sounds it has sprung straight from the true labour of love.
Lee Baker´s "Brand New Mojo Hand" is the only cover song - this farming product is the real organic thing.

Niko Riippa, Robban Hagnäs and Juho Kinaret were responsible for the songwriting. And the trick isn´t just that the songs are original compositions, they are also very good.

Wentus Blues Band´s music is familiarly guitar-driven. Riippa´s playing is sharp and freewheelin´, while
"Hiding" Wikman plants up a bit more delicate guitarlines. The addition of Pekka Gröhn on keys is a crucial factor in making "Agriculture" really a happening record. Especially his piano figures are great. Juho Kinaret seems to have improved as a singer; although on the Family Meeting concerts he got compared to real heavyweight singers. On some songs he really lets his creative nuts cut loose. Hagnäs and "Axeli" Axelqvist keep their rhytmic grey eminences strong without unnecessary flash or glitter.

The stark-stomping "Passenger Blues" is quite likely the most intense track on the album. "Brand New Mojo Hand" conjures the Louisiana voodoo up with credibility. There´s no room for sweetie tunes here. "My Kind Of People", "Times Getting Hard" and "Here in the Night" prove the fact the band handles the more mellow sides, too.

Wentus Blues Band’s switch to an independent agricultural venture seems to get cut short soon, because they are heading to England for a tour with
The Fabulous Thunderbirds in the summer. Before that, let´s just enjoy this excellent record and their live shows. 

Review by Pasi Tuominen
Translated from Finnish by Sameli Rajala

Wentus Blues Band: Agriculture. Bluelight Records, 2007

Juho Kinaret (vocals), Niko Riippa (guitar), Kim Vikman (guitar), Robban Hagnäs (bass, backing vocals), Pekka Gröhn (keyboards), Mikael Axelqvist (drums)

Producers: Niko Riippa & Wentus Blues Band

Wentus Blues Band (homepage), Wentus Blues Band (MySpace), Bluelight Records