SATUO – Earned (Lindo LINDO 044)

EarnedSatuo is an Austrian folk-rock quintet although you wouldn’t pick out their nationality until about half-way through when they switch from English. And maybe the hint of lead vocalist Laura Maria Korhonen’s accent. And perhaps the way that they mix styles in a way that a British or US band probably wouldn’t dare. Earned is, I think, their fourth album with Laura also having a solo recording available.

Their dominant sound is Americana with Fabian Baumgartner’s banjo being the lead instrument. They are joined on two tracks by violin, trumpet and cello and Laura also plays melodica and musical saw. The majority of the tracks are by the other lead vocalist Aron Saringer and three are traditional including the closing ‘Motherless Child’.

The first track, ‘One Day’, is an optimistic look to the future and is a really good song. ‘Pardon Me’ and ‘Yes You Can’ follow in the same banjo-led style then things get a bit strange as the title track turns out to be superior Euro-pop – no, better than that, but I hope that you can imagine what it sounds like. ‘Don’t Lie To Me’ and ‘Set Me Free’ run into each other and are the rocky tracks – two more fine songs. ‘Water’ starts out delicately but goes mad at the end.

The traditional ‘Oi Jos’ isn’t in English and it certainly isn’t German. I think it’s Finnish and is given a treatment that comes somewhere between a march and jazz. Then ‘Mein Land’ is definitely German rock and we return to Finnish with ‘Muista Minua’. Now you may think that this is all a bit weird and on paper it looks that way. In fact, it rolls along most enjoyably if you’re prepared to expect the unexpected.

Dai Jeffries

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