Emerging progressive pop group Neon Fir came together in 2019 and filled a blank space in the Estonian music scene that we didn’t even know was there. Although there’s always a temptation to compare young bands with older and more experienced ones and search for their influences, Neon Fir has established their unique style from the start and sounds like no other Estonian band so far. So it was an absolute delight to see Jazzkaar continuing the tradition of adding young bands in the lineup next to world famous names and one of those bands to be Neon Fir.
Taking the stage at Fotografiska on Friday around 11 pm, their mystical sound and lively presence fitted the day and the hour perfectly. And to start off accordingly, they began the set with “Happy Hour” that instantly took us into their world. Trying to fit them into any category alone can be tricky because they have elements of many genres put into one. When “Curry Potion” is lead by a very jazzy sound, “Momentum” has a synth-coated rock sound to it and “Sting”, one of their most high tempo songs, is a definite pop hit. But then again … you could fit any of these genres to any of those songs. And to top it off, all of this is coated with vocalist Eeva’s dreamy and almost soul-sounding vocals. So progressive pop – a genre that they use most often to describe themselves – is a good way to sum up, what Neon Fir can deliver.
The mixture of genres and sounds is definitely a result of the different backgrounds of the band members – choir and classical, as well as film music and producing electronical music. So each member has something to put on the table and this really comes out in their creative work for Neon Fir as well. On stage the band goes together well as a group while still showing every member’s character separately. Their laid-back attitude and presence feels cool but approachable at the same time and the retro aesthetic of their look goes well with the 80s synthetic sound, that can be heard throughout the songs.
Having already performed at notable festivals like Tallinn Music Week, Trad.Fest! and Tudengijazz, Jazzkaar wasn’t Neon Fir’s first big concert, but I’m glad that they can now add Estonia’s biggest jazz festival to their performance list as well. I sincerely hope that there was also a fair share of people in the audience who hadn’t heard their music before. Their fresh sound, unexpected ideas and unique presence are things worth discovering. To twist a title of their own song – they are cooking a progressive pop potion and it’s a delicious sounding one. Caution – can make you dizzy and dance at the same time!
Friday, 29 April 23:00, Fotografiska