The band Laime Pilnīga has been together since 2004 and last year released its debut album. (Publicity photo)
One of the bright spots of 2011 on the Latvian music scene was the debut album Dual by Laime Pilnīga.
Laime Pilnīga (Happiness Fulfilled) brings together old-school hard rock into generous compositions with a fresh and modern sound. The group has its beginnings as early as 2004, but got its first big break playing as special guests at Latvian rock icons Pērkons’ 25th anniversary concert.
The band members really can’t say how they got together, just that they had known each other from different musical projects and decided to form the band.
The four group members are Ervins Ramiņš on lead vocals, acoustic guitar and synthesizer, who also works as a vocal teacher; guitarist Mārcis Vasiļevskis, who is described by former Latvian Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis as a guitar virtuoso ; bassist Jānis Olekšs, has performed on many Latvian television music shows and played as session bassist in different groups; and drummer Elvijs Mamedovs, who is also been a session drummer in different Latvian bands. The group has performed at many different music festivals in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland and Hungary. It has made several videos that are available on YouTube.
Dual, a 10-song album, begins with the mystifying “Neverendless.” It sets the tone for this cosmic musical journey. The next track, “The Time Song,” has a lot of Led Zeppelin influence. It has a lot of syncopation with a good groove supplied by bassist Olekšs and drummer Mamedovs.
“Shaman,” which is the second single off the album, features excellent slide guitar by Vasiļevskis while vocalist Ramiņš blasts out the melody with excellent English pronunciation. The song was inspired by Ramiņš’ journey to Canada, where he met local Indian tribes.
Slowing things down with a classic 12-bar blues, “All Her Soul” really lets the singer take center stage with his soulful voice. “G.O.D.” is a two-part song that starts off with a syncopated beat and takes off in the second half, getting faster and faster, picking up more momentum towards the end. The track goes straight into “I’m in Love with the Money” with its acoustic guitar riff and falsetto vocal.
Some off-beat stuff is the album’s first single, “Terror Woman.” There’s some really interesting sound effects at the end of the track to link it up with “We Are Prayin’,” which is a nice little slow song featuring Madžo on tabla. This song has a dramatic bridge and ends off so serenely and calmly as it started.
“One Moment” (my favorite on the album) is again what is the Laime Pilnīga “sound.” It has a good sing-along chorus and a good coordinated bridge between the guitar, bass and drums. The song really rocks!
The longest song on the album is the last last one, “Sensations.” It has an eerie verse and a strong powerful chorus, plus lots of jazzy 7th and 9th chords and scales in the cosmic guitar solo with some melodic background vocals. The song ends after about six minutes, but is followed by 60 seconds of silence and ends with a little echo guitar. Good ending, very cosmic.
I really like this record and I think this group could have a good shot of gaining popularity outside of Latvia because their excellent musicianship and unique sound. Dual has been nominated for Best Rock Album and Best Debut Album of 2011 by the Latvian Music Industry Awards that will host its ceremony Feb. 28 in the National Opera in Rīga.
Laime Pilnīga, 2011
All Her Soul
I’m in Love with the Money
We Are Prayin’
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