This review could turn out to be a very long term work in progress. I don't know what Tuuliset tienoot means. Something to do with wind I think, but I don't have a dictionary. I'll write this first, then I think I'll go away and learn Finnish and after a few years come back and update you on what it's all about. So far I have the impression that it's gentle and romantic, but I don't want to say too much because it might in fact be a graphic depiction of life in the hood.
It's certainly melodic. This is highly tuneful music and wouldn't be out of place on Eurovision though before you shriek in horror at that, I reckon it would sound pretty classy there. You know, with this lot Finland might actually have a chance of winning the competition... what's that? They did win this year? Ah... Lordi. Oh Lordy Lordy. What have they done... I dread the prospect of Eurovision next year being swamped by cheesy panto-metal bands. Which Indica certainly aren't. As you can see from these pictures, they do share with Lordi a kind of 'fantasy' look, but it's more to do with naiads than trolls or demons.
Indica are kind of the folkier Girls Aloud who don't stay up late (but they maybe do) and don't show up at nightclubs with Premiership footballers. Also, they actually have some musical ability and deign to play instruments. Guitars and drums, but the main sounds you hear are keyboards, both piano and violiny-electronic if you know what I mean. And most of all their voices which while not operatic are beautifully clear. It gets quite choral at times, but overall it's sweetly soulful.
Left:- Either she's very small, or that's a bloody big horse.
And they do sing in Finnish. Which might be one reason why despite their camera friendly image you won't see them on Eurovision. Pity. Not because of the image, but because it's really nice to listen to. I know I've said this elsewhere, but I do find Finnish an attractive language on the ear, like Italian. I'm not sure I want to hear it in English - for one thing, it could easily end up sounding trite. Remember the cringeworthy English version of Nena's 99 Red Balloons? Lyrics are obviously poetic, and words in verse do a lot more than simply transmit meaning. If only most people didn't have a block about this - what I'm saying is that even if like me you don't understand the language, you can still thoroughly enjoy Indica's songs.
Do they write their songs? I can't figure that out, but whoever it is, they can write a decent tune. Tuuliset tienoot is a well proportioned album, from the upbeat 'pop' songs at the start through anthemic and ballady stuff through to some more intricate feely melodies at the finish. Finnish! Get it!? Sorry, where was I... It kicks off with two strong pop songs, both with surging anthemic bits. Vuorien taa is a great intro, but I really like the second song, Pidä kädestä. The powerful chorus is very 'Euro-y', but in a good way. There are ten songs in all. The rest are all fine, but I particularly liked the last four; there's the driving Niin tuleni teen, and the classic builder that is Kummajaisten joukko, with some nicely detailed little plaintive bits.
Can I mention one little thing which gets on my wick? I've tried to get used to it, but can't. It's an effect used in the second to last song, Rannalla. This is a beautifully written ballad (about what, who knows, could just be about doing the washing up, but never was cleaning dishes and cutlery so epic), full of feeling without being excessive; and with one little effect too many, the mournful call of electronic seagulls. Apart from that, I think it's the best song on the album.
Right:- Was this done in Photoshop? I'd hate to think she was actually in the water. There are a few pictures like this on the album and on their website, showing them standing around in ponds. I think the art director must have been looking at too many Pre-Raphaelite paintings. It's not good for you, you know, you can catch a nasty chill like this.
The last song is a little different in character: Viimeinen tansii is a lightly melancholic loungy number done to the sound of the drums being brushed in a lilting fashion. I believe I've worked out the title - The Last Dance, something like that? It fits perfectly anyway, you imagine a couple slowly moving over an old style dancefloor, maybe someone's started to sweep up in the corner. As I said before, an intricate soulful little tune and a nice one to go out on.
So: not exactly hard or cutting edge? It's all about a mood, isn't it. Don't compare Tuuliset tienoot with the wrong things. Look at it beside its equivalents in our charts, all that bland 'R and B', all those acts which have forgotten what a proper tune is. This kind of music will seem ordinary or old fashioned to some, but avoids that, not by shocking you, but with well written songs, tunes which engage brain and heart, sung with lyrical sensitivity. No doubt I'll revert to my taste for grungy stuff soon, but for now I feel like some pop, and this is classy unaffected popular music. And I'd hate to hear it in English! :) There's another Indica album, and having heard this I think I'm going back for that one as well.
31 July 2006
Hi! ...I have read your essays about Indica, that is my favourite band. I understand, that you are wondering what does Tuuliset tienoot mean. "Tuuliset" means windy and "tienoot" means areas somewhere; so it means windy areas. And for your information those violins are not teknoviolins but Jonsu plays real violin.
Ari, 30 March 2008
Thanks Ari, yes, someday I'd like to see the band live, and the violin in action.
As you will realise, I wrote this two years ago, when I didn't know any Finnish at all, and these are my first impressions, not only of the album, but of the band. I've been playing Tuuliset tienoot again recently, and it's like listening to a different album. Now, I know what a lot of the soings are about - but I still think Rannalla is the best song. My main feelings are that the album is rather better than I realised at first; and that it has a different character all of its own. It isn't quite like either the more 'poppy' Ikuinen virta, nor does it have so much of the power and melancholic depth of Kadonnut puutarha. It's more diffident and dreamy; and the songs are all very good indeed.