Finnish duo Tuomo & Markus explore Americana on 'Dead Circles'
Paola Suhonen

A philosopher might question whether a Finnish duo can make Americana music. On the new album Dead Circles, Tuomo & Markus prove that it is indeed possible.

The album begins with "Over the Rooftop," a song that immediately brings Simon and Garfunkel to mind. The intro features some good picking on an acoustic guitar. As soon as the vocals come in, the duo makes rich harmonies. Even though the instrumentation of the song is pretty simple, this is a well-textured song. The instruments and vocals provide layers of sound that make for a beautiful song.

"Why" is quite different than the opening track. The intro of the song mixes soul with jam-band sounds. The soul component is most evident in the guitar and organ. The jam-band component comes mostly from the rhythm section. If you heard this song performed live, it wouldn't be at all surprising if the song took a 10-minute instrumental detour in the middle. As the title indicates, this song is an exploration of the interrogative word why. The chorus includes the lyrics, "Why is the ultimate question. Why is the great unknown." Later in the song all the musing about the word why are countered with the thought-provoking lyrics, "The flipside to the question is why not? 

With the piano and claps, the intro of "What Are You Looking For" has something of an old-time gospel feel. As the song progresses, the claps remain, but the sound turns more toward doo-wop - especially in the backing vocals. The song takes another little turn in the instrumental breaks where the guitarist injects some alt-country sounds. The second instrumental break features a guitar tone that sounds a lot like The Allman Brothers Band.

The duo takes a turn toward Americana in "All Blue." The song features some muted piano that with a sound like something you might hear in a movie scene in a saloon. It also features pedal steel and mandolin to round out the Americana sound. The guitarist's tone is clean, and it sounds like something you might hear in a mellow rockabilly song.  

This album is a musical journey through Americana. Any number of comparisons might come to mind from one song to the next. Whether it's folk, jazzy, or alt-country, this duo shows its familiarity with American Music. Dead Circles was released on Sep. 7 and is available everywhere now.