Album Review: Mauri Dark “Dreams Of A Middle Aged Man”

Music has always been inspired by the desire to artfully narrate the human experience in a poetic, rhythmic and melodic manner to incite sentiments of either compassion and understanding to another’s life story or feelings of unity in the journey of life in a “We are in this together” type of way. Mauri Dark’s Dreams of a Middle-Aged Man is the peak of an artistic body of work inspired by life experiences, both the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly.

In the Finnish Turku singer and multi-instrumentalist’s own words, “The songs and lyrics were made amidst the changes of breaking up from a 7-year relationship, my mother’s death of cancer, and finding happiness again, getting married, having a firstborn daughter and making music.” That a man could go through all those tribulations on his own and still be able to gather himself up and devote his creative energies to the making of such an incredible body of work is awe-inspiring.

With a tracklist that is ten songs long, Dreams of A Middle-Aged Man is a fairly concise album judging by the modern standards of this Spotify-era. This conciseness allows the album’s message to be clear and understandable to Mauri’s audience while also living up to his objective of  “A minimalistic, honest, intimate, personal and autobiographical singer-songwriter album with a background painting of  sparsely added acoustic instruments.”

The album essentially explores the mindset and thought-process of a middle-aged man. What their desires are, the challenges they face, the shattered hopes they endure, the emotions they conceal, their experience of life in its fullness, and the hopes they harbor for their future and that of their loved ones.

In songs such as Thin line of understanding and Dreams of a Middle-aged Man, Mauri addresses the vulnerability brought about by the delicate emotions of love and the apprehension and frustration brought about by the possibility of loss. The single Hymn of a Wanderer is filled with biblical allusions. It has a defiant tone and a thrillingly dangerous air to it, with Mauri repeatedly saying, “My revenge it will be sweet.” Songs like Chains of Solitude, Love will prevail, Up to Us, and Shades of Grey are soft and reflective, while Poison Woman and Worst Enemy are livelier and more rapturous. On Renegade, Dark experiments with a thought-provoking Spoken-word-like performance.

A well-defined and polished compilation, Dark made sure that there was only sparing use of instrumentation so that the lyrics to tell their stories. The rhythmic and melodic support only supports the vocals. Some of the instruments used in the making of the album were the piano, acoustic drums, electric guitar, a pump organ, and sample instruments.

All in all, Dreams of A Middle-Aged Man is a beautiful body of work that can be appreciated for everything from its meticulous instrumentation to its creative diversity and sonic authenticity. The album further solidifies Mauri’s reputation as a brilliant artist who is a master of musical storytelling and melodic instrumentation. The singer’s fans will delight in this album and derive great pleasure from it.   

–Keith Dujour