Produced by: Marc Merilainen and Alex Mine
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
I first met Dean Jalonen through Marc Merilainen, also known as Nadjiwan. He pointed me toward The Soles, a band fronted by artist, performer and songwriter Dean Jalonen, now Din. Formed in 2001, the band released a number of albums and EPs, including You Burst Into Fire Again, Broken Ghost, Anodos Kathodos and Sand in the Sun. After fifteen years with The Soles, Din was ready to embark on a new journey. His new project, F-105, was released on July 27, 2018 and I was lucky enough to get a preview.
Over the years, reviewing Din’s albums, we spoken a number of times and I happily discovered that he is an avid Star Wars fan. We’ve shared views back and forth on Star Wars books and films, and I was pleased to note two songs on this album inspired by the films we both love so much. Rebel Girl is a nod toward all of the strong female characters featured in Star Wars movies. The music is hard hitting, edgy rock and the lyrics are catchy. I found myself singing along with the chorus immediately. Desert Planet is quite interesting with its funk sound and clever lyrics. Fans of the song are definitely going to get the references to both Luke Skywalker and Rey. I love the philosophical tilt of the lyrics as Din points out that out in the barren desert, there is plenty of time to face yourself and search your soul. In a bonus track on the album, Desert Planet gets a mix treatment with an electronic beat and additional vocals by Kelly Fraser. Though this version of the song is quite enjoyable, I like the stripped-down style of the original version better.
“Falling clouds / Rising smoke / Do you remember this land before / It was broke”…this is the chorus of No Man’s Land. You can take this song at face value and say that it’s about someone walking through the world today and realizing that the Earth’s resources are dwindling due to lack of care and unethical practices. Or, you can take the philosophical approach and say this song is about the corruption of one’s soul thanks to the lies and hate surrounding the individual. Mileage is a song about someone involved in a relationship who realizes it’s time to move on. This song and October 1st, have a faster pace and feature a different sound – that of the Finnish stringed kantele played by Marc Merilainen.
Viljo and Elsa is an homage to Din’s ancestry and the life his grandparents helped to build their future family. This is followed by Let It Go (It’s A New Day) and Last Moment, a particularly haunting song that beseeches us to be careful in this life and to always let those we love know just how we feel about them. As the singer recalls a fight he just had with a loved one before he walks out the door, he realizes that the horrible things he just said could be the last things that loved one ever hears: “Oh my God / What would happen / If that was / Our last moment.”
Two years is a long time to wait for an album, but I can promise you, F-105 was worth the wait. The music by Din is always enjoyable and I love how he blends vocal sounds in to create an additional musical voice. Din’s lyrics are sometimes fun, sometimes serious and always thought-provoking. I especially loved the Star Wars-inspired songs and thought he did a great job with those. I actually look forward to hearing more like them in the future. Fans of Din’s work will be just as delighted with F-105 as I am! Definitely well-worth the listen!