Deep Insight – Ivory Tower

Deep Insight
Ivory Tower

It’s difficult to fault a band for wearing its heart on its sleeve, but when it’s worn as melodramatically as Finland’s Deep Insight, the criticism just flows like a juiced-up bowel movement. The band’s newest LP, Ivory Tower, is pregnant with howling, angsty, overly poetic lyrics and radio-friendly guitar rock, stale and mind-numbing enough to make this reviewer want to curl up in a corner for a little “alone time.” Lovers of TRL/Top 40 sanitary rock will immediately identify with Deep Insight’s deep insight into music.
Take the title track for instance: standard radio-rock faire with what could have been an interesting, social twist that ends up just pushing all my negative buttons. Socially conscious lyrics like “Let’s build an ivory tower, it would be nice to see / As terror collapses making room for peace” and “You don’t have to see their pain, when you’re miles away” have potential to mean something important, but when they’re delivered in such a laughably emotive style, and when its framed with uninspired guitars and pratically irrelevant rhythm, Deep Insight’s words are drained of all…well, insight, which ultimately makes me want to do what all bands fear their listeners will do: STOP LISTENING.
Other instances of squashed potential include the opening salvos of “Oceans.” A melancholic string section and skittish drum beat predict real musical promise, until the unimaginative guitars slide into the mix and make you forget you were just listening to something halfway decent. On other tracks, it seems like it may just be the band’s poor grasp of the English language that’s the culprit behind their baffling homogeneity. “Stockholm,” a song obviously relevant to Deep Insight with its tale of a friend’s problems with drinking, suffers from by-the-books Pearl Jam balladeering and a smattering of out-right confusing lyrics: “He told him all about sex, drugs and rock’n roll and to mess around with alcohol.” “And to mess around with alcohol”? Is their target audience a bunch of 3-year-olds? Why is everything being spelled out for us? And to describe the unfortunate lush as a “slave to the drunkenmaster” conjures up more images of Jackie Chan reeking havoc than a homeless, despondent wretch crying out for help.
Songs like “Superficial” and “Vessel Embodied” make it easy to imagine potential music videos. Come, my friend, sit back and imagine with me…an abandoned warehouse/empty parking lot/rain-washed underpass is our setting, and the Deep Insight lads come walking onscreen, in slow motion of course. Frontman Jukka Nikunen flicks his shoulder-length dark hair, sending a spray of rain water into the camera for that desired effect (read: foreign sexiness). Johannes Ylinen untangles his guitar from his wallet chain and begins to strum with measured intensity (emphasis on intensity). Eventually, the rhythm section realizes that the key to today’s performance is intensity and they lay into their instruments, their muscles flexing beneath tight black t-shirts. Lips are pouted, eyes are closed in sincere expressions of faith, studded-leather wristbands are prominently displayed. Eventually, a waterfall of fiery sparks cascades over the band from some unseen source (a passing trolley car? traditional Finnish smelting?), bathing them in an orange glow. Their eyes set in determination, their work visas in hand; Deep Insight is ready to make love to you.