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On the Way to Wonderland

Sunrise Avenue

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Album Review

With their first album, the Finnish alt rock wunderkind netted themselves an armload of Nordic Grammys. Their sound was something that hadn't been heard too much in Scandinavia until very recently, a relatively upbeat touch to rock music in a land where the heaviest of metal holds court. Sunrise Avenue certainly try to add a bit of pathos to their music, as any good alt rock outfit should do (loves lost and in the midst of losing are a common lyrical theme), but their compositions tend toward more major chords than minor, adding a tinge of hopefulness to many of the songs that verges on that sound common to contemporary Christian music. The lyrics are all in English, with the delivery nearly without affectation from lead singer (and songwriter) Janne Karkkainen, though the differences in enunciation between languages can give him almost a Billie Joe Armstrong-style sneer in pieces like the fair hit "Diamonds." When he opens his throat a bit more to add some emphasis to a passage, the sneer disappears. The songs have a tendency to show some nice arrangement skills, but to fall just a little flat lyrically, a common issue with second-language (or languages further removed) lyrics — in the course of creating a suitable rhyme, the words chosen can be a bit more pedestrian, leading to a more generic sound. Sunrise Avenue show a lot of promise on their debut here, but they'll likely have to show a bit more originality before they'll break out beyond the non-English speaking areas they currently hold sway in.

Biography

Formed: 1992 in Espoo, Finland

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Finnish alternative rockers Sunrise Avenue favor a brand of melodic, semi-hard rock with apparent influences ranging from Pearl Jam to Bon Jovi. The band was formed in Espoo, Finland in 1992 by lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist Samu Haber; after several years of shifting personnel, including a few years spent in Spain, Haber established...
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On the Way to Wonderland, Sunrise Avenue
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