One of the most pleasing bands in Estonia in the last decade was Jääboiler, translated into English as Iceboiler, a curious concept indeed. The lead singer went under the name of inBoil, a peculiar nom-de-music, for what is in a boil is pus. However, the slender one is jesting here, for what I think he means that what the singer brings to his recordings like a pot on a stove he is truly cooking. Whether he is actually boiling is up for debate, I wish I knew what is behind the name. With Sting at least you get the intent, along with other one-name performers such as Prince.
inBoil has recently formed a new band, known as Inboiler, and their 2013 CD “Tere, ma armastan sind” (Hello, I love you) reached these ears recently. As a fan of Jääboiler I thought I knew what to expect and was not disappointed. This is middle-aged man music – no noise, excess or vulgarity. And that description is complimentary, for far too many Estonian bands go either the metal route, experiment with alien styles like rap, or use unnecessary filthy words. This is a compilation that, in other words, also will not upset the mother-in-law in the car. While there is no radical break from the past there is enough variety to be found here to recommend it to middle-aged ears everywhere. It seems that the members of the band are the same as in the previous incarnation, and any disc that has guitarist Marek Talts, bassist Alari Piispea and the incomparable saxophonist Meelis Unt just has to be many degrees above average, perhaps at the boiling point? Percussionist Tiit Kevad and electric violinist Tiit Kikas round out the ensemble, backing up the vocalist inBoil seamlessly, with precision and innovative élan.
All of the twelve cuts were composed by inBoil. He is also responsible for all but one song’s lyrics, displaying a sensitivity of marrying beautiful words with appropriate melodies. This is best seen in “Isale”, a tender and sensitive song dedicated to father, perhaps inBoil’s, perhaps a generic figure. Some like “Valem” (Equation) are deeply philosophical; others, while carefully composed, suggest that the author is not beyond just having fun – as on “Rohesilmne varas” (Green-eyed thief) which is about a cat and has some classic anti-social lines that only a cat lover could appreciate. The bluesy title cut flirts with rock at times, and rates as perhaps the most enjoyable selection on the CD. Otherwise inBoil sticks to the winning formula that has gained him his followers – a gentle vocal approach, musical subtlety, interesting lyrics and a tightly knit band.
Alas, as with much of the better Estonian music one needs to go back to the homeland to get a copy of this CD. As many singers will be attending the Laulupidu or song festival this summer, they could do worse when picking up cultural material to search out this CD. It is not remarkable or groundbreaking, just another example of a talented group of musicians and a wonderful composer sticking to a formula that has proven to work.
Hello, I love you