The 69 Eyes is probably the only name that comes to mind when we are talking about goth’n’roll. If you have ever been to a show of the band, you also probably recognized the charismatic frontman Jyrki 69 with his sunglasses and his cool attitude. However, Jyrki is not only active in The 69 Eyes but he has many projects going on. After having released “Universal Monsters” with The 69 Eyes last year, Jyrki decided to give us something different and release his solo album, “Helsinki Vampire”… For the solo album, he collaborated with his friend Johnny Lee Michaels, who also produced many 69 Eyes albums including the latest record “Universal Monsters”… So it’s time to dig deep into the “Helsinki Vampire”…
When I interviewed Jyrki on May, he stated that the solo album would be darker and more melancholic… this is indeed the case. Especially the first half of the album is filled with the dark and atmospheric synths and melodies. When this aspect is combined with Jyrki’s trademark dark&gothic voice and the beautiful lyrics, we get the essence of the “Helsinki Vampire”… beautiful, haunting and melancholic. Jyrki also stated that his band, The 69 Eyes, never had an album about Halloween so “Helsinki Vampire” is all about that autumn atmosphere! During our interview, he also stated that this album could be considered more as Johnny Lee Michaels’ work and that he is only contributing to the vocals. This was surprising to hear but it makes sense nevertheless. While he is the frontman in The 69 Eyes, he is accompanying the riffs and synths in this record.
As with The 69 Eyes and Jyrki’s lifestyle in general, the album is a combination of many things; at times gothic&dark and at times electronic. As I span the record many times, I sometimes found myself falling in love with the synths and at other times, I recognized how beautiful the lyrics & Jyrki’s voice are. In this sense, the album got me hooked from the first spin. It will also definitely take you back to the 80s and pay tribute to all those bands that inspired the man himself.. As a 69 Eyes fan, I also loved hearing some elements from The 69 Eyes’ sound. The piano melody in the beginning of “Versailles” strongly reminded me of “Velvet Touch” for example… So I am sure that The 69 Eyes fans will definitely feel this sound here and there.
Despite enjoying the album in general, I gotta say that I enjoyed the first half a lot more. In my opinion, the listener will get the true essence of the record with the first 5-6 songs and sadly, the album loses its magic for me after the second half as I found the songs less unique and more generic. Maybe it was the intention of Johnny Lee Michaels & Jyrki to combine that dark&electronic sound with a more generic & mainstream atmosphere. So I cannot say that the album is perfect in every way although the first half is enough to get me hooked. Nevertheless, I can say that “Helsinki Vampire” belongs to one of my favorites of 2017 so far.
“Helsinki Vampire” is recommended not only to the fans of The 69 Eyes or Jyrki 69 but to anyone who enjoys some gothic elements, darkness and beauty in music. Spin the record and get lost in those haunting melodies… I am sure we will all need this album when the autumn comes and the Halloween knocks on our door!
Highlights : Versailles, Spanish Steps, Bloodlust
01. Ad Infinitum
03. Spanish Steps
04. Bloodlust (from “Sunset Society”)
05. Last Halloween (from “Halloween Hell House”)
06. Happy Birthday
07. Call Of The Night
09. Close Your Eyes (from “Close Your Eyes”)
10. In Your Dreams
Jyrki 69 Bandcamp