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Giraffes make surprisingly good pop music, y’know

27/11/2010

A small while ago I mentioned that a band called Kirahvi nimeltä Tuike are releasing their debut album after several years of operating in the grassroots section, occasionally releasing demos into the internet and making certain guys like me pretty excited about the prospect of one day hearing a full album worth of material. That album, Lehtipeitteen suojelijat, is now here and after a few days of intensive spinning it’s time to do some good ol’ rambling. I’d normally wait for at least a week so I could minimise the possible damage caused by initial glee that eventually wavers off and which sometimes causes me to look back on my old words and wonder what the hell I was drinking, but I’m making an exception with KNT. Not only because I need to blab on about this somewhere but also because it’s pretty clear this is one of those cases where the initial joy is always going to be there.

But to start things off with, my greatest compliment goes to the band itself rather than the album specifically. They’ve got a great thing of their own going which is a rare thing for me to say from a band at their debut stage (I’m one of those people who tends to find that artists more often find their own feet to stand on later on their career rather than standing proudly already on the first steps). The lush, bright and immensely colourful musical part (much thanks to the heavy emphasis on keyboard wizardry) of the group is naturally to thank for that but only partially: the equally important other half is frontman Visa Kurki and what he sings and how he does it. I can’t say I’ve ever come across another band who dedicate themselves entirely to telling about the wild, exciting adventures of various miscallenous little animal creatures and other imagination-driven brave adventurers. It’s so utterly, well, imaginative and instantly compelling, and Kurki’s affectionate singing that treats the subject with the sort of joyous, smile-enducing love it deserves hits the spot excellently (and he’s come a long way from the occasionally ropey demo singing). The overall feel is as if all those kick-ass 80’s cartoon theme tunes had come together and condensed into a band. It’s fantastic.

And Lehtipeitteen suojelijat is great. The songs that already sounded great on the demos are made even better with the improved production that really lets the melodies shine and the improved confidence and skill of the band themselves is present everywhere, from the more elaborate versions of the old songs to how well the entirely new ones work. It’s a debut that puts the first spotlight on the band with a bang. Everything’s impressive and memorable from the start, from the opening pop awesomeness of “Lennon” to the almost post rock -esque closer “Vaapukkamehulaulu” (which definitely shows there’s more than one side to this band). And if you want to nutshell it all into one statement, the album makes me feel giddy.  Joyous! It’s a fresh breeze of unashamed optimism, and the sheer acknowledged and affectionate silliness of the lyrical material just makes it even more endearing. It works so well as a whole package. Add to that the soundworld regarding the instruments: the great rhythm section, the small but special guitar parts and especially the cavalcades of keyboards and synths, from soft waves to chiptunesque stabs. It sounds as bouncy and imaginative as it should.

I know this comes off as ridiculously gushing and incoherent so apologies for that, but it indeed is a bit too soon to write anything meaningful from the album yet – too early for that. This is written based on sheer gut feeling rather than any whiff of intellectual thinking, and over these past few days it’s been hard to get me away from Lehtipeitteen suojelijat. So damn good and fun. I’m not going to state it as the second coming of any sort of divinity – we’ll settle for “great” for now – but it is an incredibly good debut and one that not only builds up on all the promises laid by the initial bunch of demos but also one that shows great promise for future. Not to mention that in a year mostly populated by albums that are rather good but nothing too interesting beyond that, it’s been one of the few to really get me excited about its contents.

KNT is most definitely worth a check and support.

MP3: Lennon
Bandcamp (with streamable songs, ordering, etc)

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