6 Sep 2016
Kuparilinna - Kuparilinna / Octopus Syng - Hollow Ghost / Rochelle Salt
Reviewed by Nathan Ford
Up for review today are two titles that share a country of origin (Finland) and a love for the sixties, but are stylistically very different indeed.
First up is the debut album from Kuparilinna, a lovely pop gem that mines the pre-psychedelic sounds of the mid sixties, mixing in all sorts of other good stuff to create a lovely vintage sound. The lyrics are all in Finnish so I have no idea what they're on about, but the music communicates a warmth that make it a thoroughly enjoyable listen despite the language barrier.
Lead off single (and opening track) "Tuulee" sounds like Belle & Sebastian discovered vintage surf music - fantastic guitar tone here. The Belle & Sebastian comparison is one that rears its head again and again here, partially down to the arrangements, which recall B&S's earlier (better) albums, and partly due to the lead male vocal - check out the harmonsing on "Aurinko" and try not to think of Stuart Murdoch's voice.
There's not a weak moment here and lovers of dramatic sixties pop are advised to check this out straight away (there's a streaming link at the bottom of the review).
Next up is a name more familiar to you dear readers, Octopus Syng, following up their 2014 top three album of the year (according to us), with a second album for the fab Mega Dodo label. "Hollow Ghost / Rochelle Salt" is less overtly Syd Barrett / Floyd influenced than "Reverberating Garden #7" (although that influence is still evident), and is none the worse for it. The impression here is that guitarist and vocalist Jaire Pätäri has learnt his lessons well, and is continuing to evolve his own individual style of psychedelia into something unique and quite special.
It's an often dark, hallucinatory experience with lovely textured production that sees memorable tunes emerging from the swathes of dense, psychedelic fog.
This rich production creates a hazy, dreamlike experience which in all honesty did take me a number of listens to fully adjust to, but I'm very glad I persevered as I now rate "Hollow Ghost..." as "Reverberating Garden #7"s equal - something I never expected, given how much I adore that album.
The lovely, dreamy psych-ballad "Lady Florette" and the spidery guitar lines from "Echoes From The Past Centuries" are immediate attention grabbers, but it's the ease with which the album fits together that provides the biggest thrill for those willing to play the long game.
As a reviewer, it's quite common for me to spend a week or two digesting an album, then never revisiting it after reviewing. With this album, I feel like I'll be absorbing it for many months to come, and that if I was to wait for it to fully sink in you'd be waiting for months for a review. My advice for you is not to procrastinate, dive in now and start building your relationship with one of the most intriguing albums of the year.
CD, vinyl and digital are all avauilable through the Bandcamp link below: