Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Joensuu Gospel

Although shoegaze is probably not really mainstream kind of music – definitely not in a small country like Finland – Joensuu 1685 has gained quite a lot success. Due to this success even I decided to check out what it was all about. But as usual, other things got in the way and I never really got round to concentrating on the self-titled debut album, released by Bone Voyage (a record company led by 22 Pistepirkko guys) in 2008.

Joensuu 1685 was considered to be one of the most important indie bands in the release year of the debut album. The band was also one of the most popular live acts at Lost in Music festival the same year. I remember attending the gig and enjoying it quite a lot despite the very strange power shortage at the end... The band consists of Markus and Mikko Joensuu who are brothers, and non-related Risto Joensuu who just happens to have the same last name.

For a three man band Joensuu 1685 makes a whole lot of noise – that noise is very pleasant to any open-minded rock lover's ears, though. I have finally been listening to the Joensuu 1685 album properly and I enjoy everything about it. There is a lot of charm in its dynamics, heavy but nice rocking psychedelia and interesting sounds. All in all, I would call it a masterpiece of both modern sound and recording technology. Lead singer-guitarist-Farfisa player Mikko Joensuu is an openly spiritual person which shows in songs like (You Shine) Brighter Than Light and Electric Ocean Sailor. The spiritual aspect definitely gives an interesting vibe to this music.

Crystal Light is one of the most fascinating things here: a seven-minute song of noise, monotonic driving kraut beat and a thick vocal effect. Compared to this song Kill/Shot/Love, Sick City, and Baby, Baby, Baby are somewhat easier to the ear, practically quite catchy pop (or rather rock) songs. Nothingness also has that monotonic kraut vibe but the song is a lot more slow and calm. At first it sounds a bit threatening but soon transforms into one of the most blissful melodies I have heard in some time. The transitions between songs on this album have been rendered very carefully. Amazing, perfected sounds and fascinating songs make this, in my opinion, an A+ album.

Joensuu 1685 has been on hiatus during the past couple of years. The Joensuus have been working on a different project called Siinai and debut album Olympic Games came out in July 2011. Siinai describes its own music as new age, which may not sound all that appealing to some people... In fact, you can just as well describe the music as instrumental kraut rock with massive soundscapes. I was very impressed by Siinai's performance at Monsters of Pop festival a few weeks ago. Mikko Joensuu also played a solo gig (which I sadly didn't see) at the same festival. I hear there was some really good solo material performed. Maybe a solo album is on the way?

For now I will stick to Joensuu 1685 and check out Siinai's album later when I am once again in need of something different and refreshing.

No comments: