Finnish prog rock outfit Pennies By The Pound are back with their new single ‘Burning Wish’, an invigorating sonic offering and beautiful expression of optimism and adventure, channelled through the prism of fantastic British progressive rock. It will be released on June 8 via the Lilith label. This is the first taste of their sophomore album, expected later this year.
Once again, the band worked with Ride frontman Mark Gardener, who mastered the track at his OX4Sound Studio in Oxford, and top national producer Rauli ‘Rake’ Eskolin. With over a dozen No.1 records in Finland to his name in the past 20 years, he also produced, recorded and mixed their 2021 record ‘Heat Death of the Universe’. Both the album and its singles – ‘Indigo Screams’ and ‘The Waters’ – were critically acclaimed.
Hailing from Helsinki, Pennies by the Pound was formed in 2016 by Johannes Susitaival as a solo project, but quickly expanded, involving musicians from his past bands. Their unique sound blends ’80s prog rock and ’90s-early ’00s alternative rock. Heavily guitar-driven with a touch of keyboards, they love big choruses, guitar and keyboard solos, bridges and grandiose arrangements.
While still in a punk rock band, Johannes began exploring quite different musical avenues, which led to Pennies By The Pound’s self-produced ‘Bloodshed and the Blinding Sunlight’ EP in 2018. Having found their ideal producer, they recorded demos in 2019, but only recorded their debut album in late 2020.
“Sometime last year, as it seemed that the pandemic would not be over anytime soon and it was apparent we wouldn’t be able to focus on playing live shows for a while, we decided just to keep recording more music. Luckily, I had quite a lot of inspiration for new material and we started putting songs together in late summer, with Alexander Meaney joining in as an additional guitarist. Although it doesn’t necessarily show in this particular song, I’d been immersing myself heavily in Genesis (both Gabriel and Collins eras), and that influenced the up and coming album – called ‘Nothingside’ – a lot,” says Johannes Susitaival.
“This is a concept album through and through (both lyrically and musically), containing an abstract story and all that. Thus, it was really hard to decide on any one song to represent the whole, but ‘Burning Wish’ probably hits closest to the mark. It has got bits and pieces of both the lyrical and the musical theme of the album. It’s also definitely a track that sounds a lot like what people probably would expect from us!”
As of June 8, ‘Burning Wish’ will be released across digital stores and streaming platforms, including Apple Music, Spotify and Bandcamp, where you can also obtain the ‘Heat Death of the Universe’ LP directly from the artists themselves.
Music and lyrics by Johannes Susitaival
Arrangement by Pennies by the Pound & Rauli Eskolin
Johannes Susitaival – vocals, drums, rhythm guitar, keyboards
Vesa Ranta – lead guitar
Alexander Meaney – rhythm and lead guitar
Tomi Laaksonen – bass
Rauli Eskolin – background vocals, keyboards
Produced, recorded and mixed by Rauli Eskolin
Mastered by Mark Gardener
record label Lilith