For the trivia buff, The Eyes That Never Lie is an important moment in Eurovision history. Even though the Belarusian entry never made it out of the 2009 semi-final, the Karsten Jacobsen award-winning Segway-powered steadicam shot will always be remembered.
While I remember it, I was more taken with the soft-rock styling of the singer Petr Elfimov, a strange East European mix of and Jon Bon Jovi, Freddie Mercury and Bryan Adams. And he was yet another Eurovision artist that hadn’t thought about the international aspect of the show. Beyond the press release there was almost no information online for Elfimov, or even more music.
That’s changed now, and his website not only has an English language version, but also downloads of his album. So with an eager ear, I finally settled down to find out what was on offer.
It’s impossible for any artist’s three minutes of Eurovision to be representative of their skill – that’s one reason I love seeking out the albums of my favourite performers. Elfimov shows a wide musical range on I Want… and there is a nice ebb and flow as the album progresses.
Opening with a faux radio tuning exercise (a trick also used by Lordi to set the tone) we head into the title track, and it’s an interesting choice. I Want… the single is probably the hardest slice of rock on the whole album with a focus on chunky riffs and drum rolls. From this it’s straight into the Jerry Bruckheimer-esque ballad that would close a Hollywood Blockbuster in Come To Me before the album settles down to a collection of moderately paced numbers.
The switching styles in the opening few tracks makes the first listen to the album a touch experience, but I found I Want… to be a grower. I’d hesitate to say that the selection is “brave” but it shows a confidence in Elfimov that illustrates well why he was a good choice for Eurovision (and a crying shame he never made it to the final in Moscow). There are two almost accoustical tracks in here – the first, Romance, brings in a tinge of sad piano as it closes, while closing the album with the second in Belye Rosy is on reflection a smart choice.
The album reminds of the tour de force that was Bryan Adams Waking Up The Neighbours. I Want… is much bigger as a collection than if the tracks were listened to on their own. It happily sits in the background while I write, or can easily be brought to the fore for a bit of air guitar when the mood takes me.
The Eyes That Never Lie highlighted the performer in Elfimov. The 53 minutes of I Want… bring out a talented musician that I’m glad I finally managed to track down. You should too.
I Want…, by Petr Elfimov, available to download from www.petrelfimov.ru.