Antero Toiviainen is a solo-project of the vocalist of the indie-group Vauva. This is the project's debut release from 2008, and has remained its sole recording to date (02 / 2011). The album was recorded on a more-or-less broken tape recorder one track at a time, and it was originally published as a DIY-tape before Rabbit Ilsn re-released the album as a CD-R. As a "warning" of sorts, I'd say you have to understand the core lyrical themes to musically understand the songs, as all of them are telling a story that's followed and backed up by the music. You can like the songs without understanding the lyrics, but they make a lot more sense if you do.

Although some of the riffs hint towards Vauva's direction, the album's overall sound and feeling is pretty much beyond comparison to the artist's main project. The two opening tracks have a primitive but still sturdy drum beat which gives a good kick to the slighly cheery and "daydreaming" acoustic guitar, topped with storytelling lo-fi male vocals that define the tracks' theme and feeling. Aside of featuring a harmonica and fittingly cheesy synths, alongside some other equally simple and distinctive sounds, the songs rely wholly on the acoustic guitar and the young male vocals to lead and define the songs; everything else is just added bonus to deepen the soundscape. The minimalism becomes inevitably clear during the following two songs, neither of which feature drums.

The songs were recorded on the first or second take, and it shows; they sound crude, both musically and especially sound-wise, and the vocals have a tendency of burying the guitar behind them. The performance and the recording overall sounds more like a demo than an actual serious album, which is quite a shame since it would've had great possibilities when it's perceived as a stylistic and compositional whole. The songs have simple but tasty folk-riffs with a good dose of emotion, and the mouth organ, synths and other spices are used to great effect to give the songs deepness and more impact while still keeping them very light and bare.

If the artist would've used more emotion and less volume with his vocals and if the songs were refined further, this album would be a really enjoyable listening experience instead of a decent demo-recording made to prepare the listener for a more refined and overall thought-out end product. The music has a honest and positive vibe, but is overall too shy of its ambitions, and I'm pretty sure that the soundscape's functionality was more or less a happy coincidence. More effort and time must be spent on the next release, no question. A more stimulating and informative visual side would be gladly welcomed as well.

6 / 10