Saara was born in Oulunsalo in 1987 and prior to this year’s Eurovision she was already a recognised name in some aspects as a voice actor, having done Finnish voice-overs for Disney’s “Frozen” and “Alice In Wonderland”…however singing has always been her passion and she’s actually been releasing music since 2011, having several independent albums under her belt, as well as multiple attempts at talent shows including “Talent Suomi” and “The Voice Of Finland”…even “The X Factor” here in the UK! Her trouble though was a case of that classic saying; always the bridesmaid, never the bride…coming in at 2nd place every single time. 2018 sees her try to rectify that with her first ever major label release through Warner Music; “Wild Wild Wonderland”…let’s check it out.
The album opens up with that Eurovision entry “Monsters” and honestly it’s still as fun as ever, despite being originally released in February. There isn’t really much I can add to this one from my preview of Lisbon truth be told; with the subtle electronica and temple block inspired synths, coupled with Saara’s bold, melodic vocals, with a soaring chorus this is a wonderful dance-pop tune and it still sounds fresh, a faultless start here really. “HӒN” follows up and we’ve got a really rhythmic, funk-inspired piece with brass elements, coupled with Saara’s assertive vocal presence, its brief but it is enjoyable. “Dance Like Nobody Is Watching” on face value would logically be a big, bright, colourful piece of music, focused on letting your hair down and partying but in reality it’s a sombre piano ballad, actually making it that much more powerful; a very emotive track and rich in reflection and self-confidence, resulting in an incredibly sweet listen, absolutely lovely stuff.
“My Touch” continues to pump out the dance-inspired soft pop but does incorporate subtle R’n’B influences throughout the pre-chorus, while elsewhere Saara dabbles in other cultural samples with “Walking On Nails” having a slight Spanish guitar tone to its acoustics, and bonus track “No Fear” utilises low-key classic Indian instrumentation to add character to an already up-beat, positive track. The rest of the album is pretty much consistent really…Saara’s had a decent writing team working with her for the record and all things considered this is a pretty congenial, albeit straightforward pop album. It’s got its highlights, though it does peak far too early with THAT song getting the album underway, but there’s nothing overtly negative to be said about the record in all fairness, it’s worth the listen.