Poets of the Fall
Signs of Life


4.0
excellent

Review

by Trajan Paul Murphy USER (18 Reviews)
March 29th, 2014 | 24 replies | 1,390 views


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Poets of the Fall live up to their name on their debut, putting a new spin on a trite sound by making it poetic and sincere

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

Pure alternative rock has been more or less dead to most music fans for about a decade. Ever since Nickelback took the radio by storm with "How You Remind Me" in 2001, nearly every alternative rock band decided that they too wanted a bite of the apple, and in the process became much more shallow and cookie-cutter, concerned not with artistic merit, but rather airplay and commercial success. Since this alt rock has become synonymous with the term "radio rock" which illustrates the genre's decreased status better than anything else. However, that doesn't mean that all alternative rock is six feet under just yet. Even in such a trite genre as so-called "mainstream rock", there will always be those who try, and put more thought into the music than how catchy or commercially viable it is.

Poets of the Fall, an alt rock sextet from Helsinki, Finland, have been breathing life into the standard mainstream rock formula since 2005, when their prophetically-titled debut Signs of Life was released to unexpected commercial success in their home country. Upon first listen, it is hard to discern exactly what makes the Poets rise above their peers. Their music is extremely accessible, the song structures standard, and their lyrics are solely devoted to the commonplace themes of love and failing relationships. But there is one key difference between the Poets and the legions of similar bands: sincerity.

Even though the band covers the well-trodden personal issues mentioned before, they convey them in lush poetry rather than the usual blunt metaphors. While overuse of purple prose can get quite annoying, it's the main thing that makes the Poets so appealing. The music, while stripped down, is every bit as lush as the lyrics, with the guitar meshing very well with the clean, soulful voice of Marko Saaresto, and creating a very calm and relaxed atmosphere.

I can safely say I have heard no other vocalist who can be appropriately compared to Marko Saaresto. His voice works perfectly in tandem with his lyrics, and he is what ultimately gives Poets of the Fall their own identity. This is best exemplified on "Someone Special", which would otherwise likely be another annoyingly cliché falling-in-love ballad. In addition, his very poetic lyrical style makes the songs feel like a personal chronicle (like a singer-songwriter), rather than simple conformation.

"I wake up to the sound of rain upon my sill
Pick up the pieces of my yesterday old thrill
Can I deliver this used up shiver
To how I pronounce my life
And I leave it up to faith to go by its own will

Back row to the left, a little to the side
Slightly out of the place
Look beyond the light, where you'd least expect
There's someone special"

The band never really leave their comfort zone throughout the album, but their material is strong enough that they don't need to. Even "Don't Mess With Me", at first listen a simple headbanging anthem that could easily fit in any other mainstream rock band's catalogue, is treated with Saaresto's unique introspection and acoustics. Someone looking for variety will very likely be disappointed, due to the already familiar nature of their style.

Poets of the Fall are far more than just another mainstream rock band. They have successfully breathed new life into an otherwise trite style by being luxuriant rather than simple. While the band states in "Illusion & Dream":" It doesn't solve a thing to dress it in a pretty gown", that's exactly how they make their music so appealing. Far from "mock sincere" (their words, not mine), the Poets should certainly be considered by anyone who believes that all "radio rock" is vapid and trite, and will almost certainly silence the skeptics.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
TPM731
March 29th 2014



236 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I decided this needed more than just a track-by-track review. Any and all constructive feedback is welcome.

Toondude10
March 29th 2014



3797 Comments


In addition, his very poetic lyrical style makes the songs feel like a personal chronicle (like a singer-songwriter), rather than simple conformation.


Might as well add that before the last sentence of the fourth paragraph.

If you cut a little bit of the first paragraph (which is a bit general if you ask me) then you could merge the second paragraph with the first.

Nice read though. I pos'd.

Digging: Olafur Arnalds - ...And They Have Escaped The Weight Of Darkness

RiffOClock
March 29th 2014



1047 Comments


really dug lift and late goodbye (obv) back in the day. honestly this band isnt all that bad as far as mainstream rock goes

TPM731
March 29th 2014



236 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Even when looked at outside the mainstream rock context, these guys are still pretty good. Their newer material is less similar to standard mainstream rock than this.

RiffOClock
March 29th 2014



1047 Comments


twilight theater was my favorite record by these guys, used to jam that like crazy

TPM731
March 29th 2014



236 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Are you going to listen to these guys again?

RiffOClock
March 29th 2014



1047 Comments


yea i just might, this band brings back good memories ;D

Toondude10
March 29th 2014



3797 Comments


I've heard of these guys before but never really bothered listening to them. I just may give this a shot.

wacknizzle
March 29th 2014



12984 Comments


Never heard of this band, might give em a listen later on tonight

Digging: Amenra - Mass V

Killerhit
March 29th 2014



5249 Comments


the nickleback argument is overdone to hell

they were a shitty as hell band but they didn't ruin rock forever

and alt rock is a very broad term as-is, so calling it synonymous with radio rock is fallacious

still, it's a decent review

TPM731
March 29th 2014



236 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I didn't say that Nickelback ruined rock, or even that they ruined alternative rock. All the inane copycat bands are the ones who are responsible for any stagnation.

I know that alt rock is a very broad term, but when most people hear that phrase they think of a more specific style.

sixdegrees
March 29th 2014



16951 Comments


Lift was/is the jam

Digging: Ted Nugent - Shutup&jam!

Killerhit
March 29th 2014



5249 Comments


i know, those were my words.

alt rock does have a regular, specific connotation to it: clean guitars, midtempo tunes, the works. though it's not correct to presume all of alt rock is this, you wouldn't be too far off as is.

SitarHero
March 30th 2014



4661 Comments


Good review. POTF is insanely popular here in India and I think the purple prose has something to do with it.

SitarHero
March 30th 2014



4661 Comments


"alt rock does have a regular, specific connotation to it: clean guitars, midtempo tunes, the works."

Hmmm?

EvoHavok
March 30th 2014



1353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Glad to see this getting a new review. Revolution Roulette would be by fav album of theirs.

OmairSh
May 11th 2014



10868 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

We keep driving, into the night

Digging: Paco de Lucia - El Duende Flamenco

Ecnalzen
May 11th 2014



6500 Comments


Carnival of Rust has some good tunes on it. Haven't heard anything else by them yet.

OmairSh
May 11th 2014



10868 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Listen to "lift" off of this, addictive as hell. Shallow's my favourite off this though

Ecnalzen
May 11th 2014



6500 Comments


Well, Lift is pretty awesome.

I love this dude's voice. The fact that the music is really good, too, is an added bonus.



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