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Fingerprints








 
   







'Where the Beat Goes on'

(Blackberry Way records)










MARK: 88/100




   

Prologue
   
Men and fate always see things in a different manner.
In the fertile late 70s Minneapolis scene, a five-piece band established in 1974 (not to be confused with a later-formed Swedish AOR act) was working on a debut album that didn't come out because they split-up earlier than its release, but now justice has been done and a rare reunion performance is scheduled next June.
   

Package
   
The packaging of this digipack-CD is a slim 4-page carton with a pocket to contain the CD on the right side.
   

Visual aspect and trivia

   
The artwork is fully digital and portrays a live photo in blue and white color under the monicker and the album title. Underneath are 4 larger live pictures in another two colors, for instance red and white, all exposed to different editing effects (aged, dotted or with a shadow). All together they remind a Pop Art style, vaguely in line with Andy Warhol's.
To be noted is also the particular that the word 'BEAT' isn't written in a linear pattern; the letters are at different heights and point towards irregular or even opposite directions. At the same time it's also in bold type.
Inside the digipack we find the tracklist on the left, liner notes on the right, and a promotional photo of the band back in the late '70s in color.
Under the informative notes on the right we meet a photo of a wild punctiform vintage live audience in white and violet. This latter color was also used to number the tracklist.
In the middle you can have the CD slide from the pocket and then realize that the disk has punctiform hand fingerprints printed on itself for stylistic consistency, along with the band's logo and the album's title.
On the back there's a bio and a brief review similarly to how they usually write on the backside of books. In addition one can observe a picture in color excerpted from a gig on the background. The review reports that Fingerprints' fiery live shows were delightfully enhanced by their singer Throne doing backflips during their lives.

Most of the songs were penned by Mark Throne, most of them are short. In some we find guitarist/singer Robb, in others his successor Jeff.
There are several outer contributions from guest musicians at sax, piano and tablas.
   

Lyrics
   


The songs talk about or, if instrumental, deal with feelings, situations, social relationships and wishes.

   

Engineering
   
Recorded between '77 and '79, the songs of this debut album, that hadn't seen the light as the group disbanded before its completion, were restored, finished and mixed by Michael Owens in 2021. In the same year the album was mastered by Andy Walter at Abbey Road! You can decidedly hear the loud and powerful final result of this long processing, probably the longest for a debut album as far as I'm concerned.
   

Track-by-track musical analysis
   


No time nor need for an intro, the rollercoaster can kick off immediately with "Don't Wanna Talk": saucy Rock with an extremely smooth time variation and a guitar solo that comprises organ-like sounds.
From the first instants of "Now I Want To Be A Space Girl" you realize drums and bass have been mixed very high and far more powerful than in the previous track. There's another catchy chorus, but as a matter of fact the drunken axe solo in tapping forever following a brief traditional solo is what does stand out here.
Melancholic and displaying trilling and euphonic guitar licks, "Prisoners" possesses a tasty guitar solo gifted with a distinct climax and small successive variations, while the second guitar goes on constantly electroacoustical. In the final part the effected voice steps aside for a slowed down conclusion.
The weirdly-titled "Boogada Bigadus" is the first instrumental composition of the platter, embellished by sax interventions, crunchy drumming, and guitars creating an amusement park of emotions.
Irreverent '77 Punk Rock with guitars vibrating in unison with the vocals during the refrain, "Smiles for Sale" includes one more sax contribution that anticipates what John Zorn did more than a decade later.
Sultry and relaxed with even three diverse methods of singing, "Illusions of Love" has been enhanced with recent production retouches that have allowed robust and penetrating kick drums which perfectly match some rapid drum rolls.
First dynamic and later on dreamy, "Place in My Heart" may even boast a few vocal lines in the vein of Billy Idol's, and a musical box leading to a Christmas-like ending.
"Kind Affection" proves to be vintage tight Rock with sax notes in the background, almost female backing vocals, minimalistic vocals, and a fast guitar solo in the grand finale.
The main riff in "Uptown" is simply wonderful, but we have to say the whole composition will sound incredibly involving to those who enjoyed Iron Maiden's debut album and Paul Di' Anno's hoarse voice. Moreover, there is an unforgettable Prog breakdown which appears twice with the addition of vocals rich in dramatic pathos. The listener will also discover the pleasure of incessant spot-on piano notes.
"Down" is Glam Rock that partially seems an adult nursery rhyme when a seducing refrain, also slowly faded out in the end, is absent.
"Whose Side Are You On?" is sheer combat Rock made elegant by sax and made heavier by an instrumental dialog between bass and drums before the refrain's reprise in the last seconds.
While "Hey Johnny" reminds me both The Clash and The Sex Pistols, offering a controlled guitar solo, one alà Steve Stevens, another obsessive in tapping, and a final fourth more vibrating terminated by a sax solo, "Nothing to Say" is a Street Punk chip where guitar, voice and drums have been brought to the extreme, coming a few years before Hardcore was conceived at all!
A polychromatic use of howling guitar within raw Punk emprecioused by sax one more time is what you'll get in "Shake N' Roll", whereas there's no doubt that "Young Love" gives off sex from all its pores paying homage to Mick Jagger and Iggy Pop, yet utilizing a more solemn singing, pioneering once again a genre such as Gothic Rock or Alternative Rock acts such as No Means No. All of this while guitar shrieks in the background effected in several dissimilar fashions. This is nothing less than Glam Rock at its finest, closed by coarse shouts.
"We Can't Get In" is short, eccentric Pop/Blues with a pennywhistle. It's also a bit Country, and some vocals honor Zappa and seem to have influenced Les Claypool (Primus, Sausage, etc.) at the same time.
If you think I'm exaggerating in stating the Minneapolis quintet has opened ways for so many styles and artists, try and prove me wrong when I say the opening riff in "You Have to Push Them Over" is a real Progressive Metal one, This riffing comes before and after a Country/Honky Tonk solo in this instrumental composition in which piano and sax steal the drums spotlight, except when drums back up a guitar and piano solo concluded by saxophone lines. This is my personal highlight and I'm sure it would take no prisoners even nowadays if presented live.
Had David Bowie sung a tune halfway between New Wave and Indie Rock, the result would have been close to "I'm Wasted on You". A fast guitar solo full of passion and skill, where no note is useless, sloppy or out of place, turns out to be the icy on the cake.
Almost 4 minutes make up "Must Be Me", a song opened by a mighty, deafening bass, followed by a Pop Rock partition, and a Groovy Rock breakdown afterwards. And when the sax goes solo, the number shines even brighter, songwriting- and performance-wise.
Those who adore magnetic vocals should search no further and start with "Burn Those Bridges"; sometimes overlayed by a few higher vocals, vocalist Mark's work is here sustained by brawny bass lines. This melody is suitable as a background for a party, yet shouldn't be belittled, because of its amazingly modern and unique songwriting.
"Will You Be the One?" commences with an attack on the path of The Knack's "My Sharona", then moves to hypnotic Rock, to then arrive at a sort of romantic Prog break, all being repeated later on.
Fingerprints have decided to keep some of the lenghtier pieces at the end of the album, and "Made in the Shade" is one of those. Indebted to David Bowie, it stands out thanks to reverberated vocals in the refrain.
The longest track of all the 24 included in this fantastic record is "Back on the Street", based on a piercing riff, a nervous and agreeably tight drumwork. The backbone of the first guitar solo is quite dismal, while the second is more lively and shinier, lasting until the faded-out closure.
"Half Past Zero" is a joyful instrumental chosen to put the final word to this long record in a pretty carefree guise. Interesting to note that one guitar player is busy riffing, while the other fabricates savory licks, and the explosive skinbeater's playing emphasizes the rhythm.

   






   
Value
   


I'm not aware of the selling price of this item, but I know for the band themselves and the fans, this represents a dream come true. When many had lost hope, the CD finally came out, so the sentimental value as well as the historical one are some of the highest for a combo that called it quits far too soon without reaping the fruits of the many formidable songs they had just composed.

   

Available versions
   
Besides this digipack-CD, Fingerprints' looong-awaited first full-length is also available and downloadable as MP3 or Wav files at the Blackberry Way records' link mentioned below, and at the other links, too.
   

Conclusion
   
The 24 tracks appear to be not 100% original, but the personal 'fingerprint' isn't missing at all, and that often leads to a quite distinct style that has pioneered genres and musicians. Even though a gigantic work has been done to link them all within the same record, the compositions remain rather heterogeneous both as to the songwriting and to the production, with some where the rhythmic section sounds definitely louder than in the previous track.
Also, the appearance of two vocalists in separate tracks contributes in making it a multiform record, tied all together by guitar player Michael Owens, who reveals himself to be a true dowser of feelings translated into the language of music.
However, what counts is that there are no fillers and the album is pure fun from beginning to end.
"Where the Beat Goes on" is an unequalled and refreshing take on the adrenalinic and colorful side of the Rock 'n' Roll genre.
   


   

MARKUS GANZHERRLICH - May 12, 2022
   























Tracklist:

1. Don't Wanna Talk
2. Now I Want to Be A Space Girl
3. Prisoners
4. Boogada Bigadus (Big Reggie's Theme)
5. Smiles for Sale
6. Illusions of Love
7. Place in My Heart
8. Kind Affection
9. Uptown
10. Down
11. Whose Side Are You On?
12. Hey Johnny
13. Nothing To Say
14. Shake N' Roll
15. Young Love
16. We Can't Get In
17. You Have To Push Them Over
18. I'm Wasted on You
19. Must Be Me
20. Burn Those Bridges
21. Will You Be the One?
22. Made in the Shade
23. Back on the Street
24. Half Past Zero




Discography:

-Now I Want to Be A Space Girl (7" EP - April 1978)
-Down (7" - 1978)
-Various Artists - Big Hits of Mid-America Volume 3 (double LP - 1979)
-Where the Beat Goes on (full-length - 2021)




Line-up on this album:

Mark Throne - v., sax, g., piano (ex-Robert Ivers & The Ice Stars)
Michael Owens - g., v., organ, piano (ex-Idle Strand)
Jeff Waryan - v., g., pennywhistle (ex-The Figures, ex-Curtiss A's band)
Robb Henry - v., g. (ex-Robert Ivers & The Ice Stars, ex-Surfers, ex-Mojo Buford, ex-Brave New World, ex-Walter Mitty, ex-Philadelphia Story)
Steven Fjelstad - b. (ex-The Figures, ex-Swan Lake Six, ex-Robert Ivers & The Ice Stars)
Kevin Glynn - d., percussion (ex-Idle Strand)

Guest appearances by:
Lynn Seacord, Peter Napoleon Barbeau, Mike Kearney - sax
Gary Waryan - tablas
Harvey Ginsberg - piano








Contacts:

Mike Owens
Blackberry Way records
6046 Ridgewood Road
Mound, MN - USA

E-mail: blackberrywayrecords@mediacombb.net
Website: www.blackberrywayrecords.com









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DON'T MISS THIS ALBUM'S VIDEO REVIEWS IN ENGLISH AND ITALIAN:

English video review:


Italian video review:




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