Frequently heralded as the Queen of the slide guitar, The Finnish songwriter’s ninth studio album all but solidifies these claims. Captivating, courageous, and frequently melancholic, Waiting for the Daylight displays the sheer scope of Erja Lyytinen’s evocative songwriting. Largely assembled amidst the pandemic’s age of rumination, the European Blues Award-winning artist projects passion and sentiment onto each of the album’s 9 tracks, with her neoteric delineation of Blues-Rock constituting a compelling change in artistic direction.
Kickstarting the album in emphatic fashion, “Bad Seed” is responsible for initiating an electrifying tempo, with its finely entwined guitar solos and intense reverb laying the foundation for the zealous performances which are soon to follow. A notable hallmark of the entire project, Lyytinen’s imposing vocals see the chorus transcend the track to resplendent heights, with her unwavering delivery projecting every word with great intent. Such is the case on the mystical “Run Away”, where the verses’ innocent melody becomes thwarted by the head-stomping riff, as Lyytinen delivers an ominous warning through the lyrics “run away – before it finds you, and takes you down its rotten hole”.
Extending deep into her soul, Waiting for the Daylight is responsible for invoking some of the Finnish songwriter’s most impactful tracks. Combining the theatrical instrumentation with Lyytinen’s reassuring lyrics, the album’s title track undoubtedly marks the emotional climax of the album. A sentimental cut whose solo has been dedicated to the singer’s late friend, the track’s resounding atmosphere signifies an overwhelming number of emotions swimming to the surface. “Never Really Had You” continues in a similar vein, a heartrending blues ballad whose wheeping slide guitar, delicate percussion and yearning lyrics are enough to leave a lump in the back of your throat. A by-product of her exceptionally vivid storytelling, these emotions paint a beautiful, yet often mournful picture of the thoughts and memories which occupy her mind.
While undoubtedly a vulnerable and intimate project, Waiting for the Daylight also presents Lyytinen in her most galvanised state. This can be felt throughout the fierce narrations of “Last Girl”, where the nostalgic metal riffs and pulsating bass reinforce the singer’s indignation while reliving traumas of bullying at school. But for every ounce of resentment, Lyytinen demonstrates equal amounts of resilience, with empowering lyrics such as “I was always one of the boys” and “Someday I will be one who’s strong and free”, signifying the importance of embracing your true identity. “You Talk Dirty” is another track which holds similar qualities, with the deafening overdrive, brazen vocal inflections, and Iiro Laitinen’s relentless drumming, evoking indisputable shades of classic Sabbath. “Not your honey, not your doll, not an object” Lyytinen sings, a defiant lyric which compliments the album’s most visceral solo.
Closing with the beautiful, lockdown inspired, “The End of Music”, the Finnish singer-songwriter concludes the album in a deserving grand finale. A heartbreaking, comforting, and inspiring album, Waiting for the Daylight highlights the spectacular versatility of Lyytinen, not only as a songwriter, but also a producer. Whether the hardcore blues of “Diamonds on the Road”, or the pop inspired grooves of “Love Bites”, Erja Lyytinen consistently delivers an enthralling product. Having acquired a steady balance between abstract and vivid songwriting, her emphatic guitar work allows her to effortlessly switch between mystical and earthly poetry with tremendous success.
The Review: 8.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Bad Seed
– Run Away
– Waiting for the Daylight
– You Talk Dirty
– The End of Music
The Big Hit
– Bad Seed