Bodin, Tomas - 2002 Pinup Guru

ARTIST: Bodin, Tomas
ALBUM: Pinup Guru
LABEL: Inside Out
YEAR: 2002

LINEUP: Tomas Bodin - vocals, keyboards * Jonas Reingold - bass * Zoltan Czorsz - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Sodium Regale * 02 What's Going On? * 03 Me & Liz * 04 Harlem Heat * 05 The day I Saw My Beautiful Neighbour * 06 New In The 'Hood * 07 Blood * 08 The Ballerina Is Not Getting Closer * 09 The Last Eagle * 10 The Final Swig


Aside from his regular gig as keyboard player in the Swedish retro-prog band The Flower Kings, Mr Tomas Bodin is an independent composer. Following 'An Ordinary Night In My Ordinary Life', comes his second solo outing 'Pinup Guru' (its title taken from an old Genesis lyric from 'The Battle of Epping Forest').

This album is a real rollercoaster of a ride and proves that Bodin is a master in his field. The album has a lengthy playing time of over 70 minutes, during which time, Bodin (aided and abetted by two of his Flower Kings colleagues) explores many different musical moods.

The Songs

The album begins with 'Sodium Regale'; its huge church organ plays something which sounds majestic and leans towards a traditional hymn-like arrangement. Comparisons with Emerson Lake and Palmer will be inevitable, and I'm sure Bodin will be more than happy to be compared to the legendary Keith Emerson.

This leads straight into the epic 'What's Going On', which is far more in keeping with the style of The Flower Kings. The mid-section is perhaps a little out there with its use of keyboard loops, but by the climax, Bodin, Reingold and Czorsz show what they are really capable of - the power-trio format really suits them.

'Me and Liz' was inspired by the breakdown of Bodin's marriage. It's a piece cut in half - the first slow and full of lament; the second quirky with a jazz-funk basis, allowing Reingold to show Jaco Pastorius influences within his bass work. This is an excellent example of how even instrumental pieces of music can be used to convey emotion.

'My Beautiful Neighbour' is a complex solo piano piece designed to show Bodin's skills with something a little more classically based (though not necessarily in the traditional sense).

Although 'The Ballerina Is Not Getting Closer' is in a similar vein, being another solo piano piece, it's far less complicated as it's mainly based around a basic waltz structure.

'New In The 'Hood' is another of the album's high points. It's in a jazzier mood for the first part and some of Reingold's bass playing is in the spirit of Stanley Clarke's mid-'70s recordings. In a change of pace, the middle part of this track shows more of a world music approach, led by Bodin's keyboards. The closing section is among one of the softer arrangements on 'Pinup Guru', being more in keeping with the easy jazz of Bob James.

'Blood' revisits Bodin's love of film soundtrack compositions, with its huge keyboard soundscape. Anyone who has heard the title track from 'The Rainmaker' (the excellent Flower Kings offering from 2001) will know how good Bodin is at this kind of thing. A real treat.

'Pinup Guru' closes play with 'The Final Swig', another extended piece, which revisits earlier musical themes from the album, presenting them as a huge reprise.

In Summary

Tomas Bodin is a fantastic musician. If you like his work with The Flower Kings, this album is a must. If you like instrumental works with lots of old progressive rock and jazz influences, you should find a world of enjoyment listening to this album. Just make sure you turn out the lights.

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