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MP3 22-Pistepirkko - Rally Of Love

Scandinavia most eccentric pop band with their most elaborated album, recorded with the Cardigans team at the Swedish Tambourine Studios

11 MP3 Songs
POP: 90''s Pop, POP: Power Pop

ALL MUSIC GUIDE: "22-Pistepirkko has intentionally tried to make a poppy and produced album. That and the extensive use of synthesizers make Rally of Love a 22-Pistepirkko album you''ve never heard before. Their songwriting has remained just the same, so what you hear is a very modernized version of 22-Pistepirkko. A great thing about Rally of Love is that even though computers dominate the entire album, it still sounds very warm."
What we are talking about here are records that, after many other records by the same makers, have a character of their own and present great new songs. Not just the ones before slightly rehashed, with new names and lyrics.
Finland''s 22-Pistepirkko (P-K Keränen: vocals, guitars, programming; Asko Keränen: bass, organ, synths, programming, Espe Haverinen: drums, vocals, programming) is one of those rare bands that take their business seriously.
They are obsessed with making great records. Even after 20 years in the trade, they don''t give a fuck about the industry rule of churning out a record every year or year and a half. They take their time delivering the goods when they are ready... Truth be told, as a devout fan, I''ve found myself sometimes thinking: God, they really take their time! Couldn''t they be a little quicker in the delivery department? But then, when they finally come out with it, I always realize it was just the music junkie in me worrying about the next fix. At the end of the day I much rather wait a while for a great record than get a half-baked one real quick.
22 Pistepirkko''s new album The Rally of Love their ninth, if we count the very first Finnish language album, the remix/remake compilation Zipcode and the movie soundtrack Downhill City is great, there''s no doubt about it. On the first listening I was overwhelmed by how they, once again, sound like nobody else. So fresh! After many a spin I still marvel where those new, luxuriously beautiful melodies keep coming from. See, these are not one-idea-songs. These are more like little movies in sound where the plot takes wonderful, surprising turns.

The new album goes on from where Eleven left off three years ago. Where that record was more like folk rock made with trip-hop sensibility, this is pop, unadulterated pop. But not the light weight variety. The Rally of Love is pop in the same way that Love''s Forever Changes is pop.
This time around the overall feeling and the sensurround sound of the music is more refined, bigger and spacier, lush. You can''t call it trashy or lo-fi anymore, like it used to be on the first few albums. Still, with all the sensual tripping and the psychedelic layering, there is that down-to-earth real vibe that is impregnated in 22-pistepirkko''s DNA code. Contradictory? Maybe, but 22-PP thrive on contradiction. It probably has a lot to do with that chronical freshness and never ever sounding like a pneumatic MTV product.
They are the most tightly-knit band on earth all three participating in songwriting, in words and melodies; in fact, in everything concerning 22-PP and yet they have always found friends and working partners to give their music outside input, new blood, different angles.
This time they went to Malmö (SE) Tambourine Studios to work with producer Per Sunding (Sort Sol, The Wannadies, etc.), engineer Stefan Kvarnström and mixer Tore Johansson (The Cardigans, Boss Hog), who helped with the programming and keyboards.
Four tracks were done in Finland. D-Day was produced and mixed by the Finnish techno team L''go Pistooli from Turku, I''m A Moon Around You was co-operated with the Finnish house master Jori Hulkkonen while the acoustic tracks the mystical and raw stonesy chant Metro Blues and the super intimate Bloodstopper about a "prodigal son", who cuts his wrists and, regretting his move, calls back home to get tele help pronto from a local bloodstopper as the old style healers do it with certain magical words, were done in the band''s own Bare Bone Studio.
Lesser bands would make a patchy record with so many teams, but it''s a testimony on 22-P''s stubborn and strong vision that The Rally of Love sounds like a solid whole, albeit with many different moods and levels. Call it sophisticated psychedelia of the new millenium. P-K, Asko & Espe don''t do drugs, by the way. Never have. It always tickles me to no end that one of the worlds trippiest bands don''t do drugs. Reality is stranger than fiction.
Their famous mutant blues takes the back seat this time, but subliminally it is there. You feel it even if it doesn''t manifest in form. The same with that ruff & ready linkwrayish garage rocking. It only leaks to the surface occasionally, like on Freeman, or catches your senses from the background. There''s plenty of that dreamlike thing in 22-P''s music: you don''t necessarily see something, but you know it''s there. This is not your secure cut-and-dried shit, on Planet Pirkko stuff happens on the edges of your senses. Contradiction again: it keeps you alert while it draws you gently in and hypnotizes you.
Take the opening track Quicksand with it''s eerie beauty and ominous sense of dread. It''s about a couple or are they friends, or sister & brother? It''s not quite clear that are stuck in a cruel rut, in a vicious scene repeating itself that manifests as a spiralling loopy guitar riff, whose blues is way closer to Ali Farka Toure than B.B. King, and has absolutely nothing to do with Gary Moore. Upfront there''s hoodoo style percussion while in the background hovers a brooding synth bassline like the metaphorical jaguar that P-K mentions in the story. He is singing about being in serious trouble with somebody that you love. The pain in his little voice with big soul is palpable, as is the love. Talk about deep blues... And all the while the space, where all this is happening, is zooming back & forth, like on LSD.
Next is This Time, a gentle breeze of optimism and bittersweet longing with mournful slide, totally pure electric guitar, warmly strumming acoustic, synths like distant seagulls flying very high and a chorus that Madonna would not neglect. It''s so catchy I would make that the first single. (Indeed, it is the first single...)
The album goes on as an ever changing kaleidoscope of narcotically beautiful songs that once again prove P-K one of pop''s unique voices. Very personal without mannerisms, it''s a stricktly one of a kind experience. I used to think it cartoonish, but it seems to have expanded into something cinematic.
I''m A Moon Around You sounds like Nick Drake going ambient house with the Beach Boys singing back-up while Mowing A Lawn tells about lovers breaking up with compassion and gentle irony alternately rocking hard or dissolving into a chrystalline dream pop. D-Day, where drummer Espe Haverinen ponders on God knows what in hushed tones so close up you practically feel his breath, builds a suspended bridge between Suicide (one of the boys'' all time favourites) and Underworld, while the briskly pulsing Rally of Love ends the record bringing Nuggets-era garage rock, modern electro and classic pop triumphantly together with a positively life-affirming attitude.
This is not nearly all, but I think you catch my drift:
The Rally of Love is one hell of an album that you can get lost in for a week without exhausting it.
Jussi Niemi

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