Maa ilmasta - Kaunis kesäkaupunki - Track By Track Review
For the friends of: 'Saimaa', 'CAN', 'NEU!'
Genre: instrumental retro rock, progressive rock
Favorite track(s): 'Lehtisaaren satakieli', 'Baana', 'Tähtien asento'
Random words: escapism
'Maa ilmasta' is a relatively new Finnish instrumental rock band. They released their debut album 'ISO YÖ' in 2021, which was a very strong and confident step into the music scene. The band bows toward the Finnish progressive rock from the 60s and 70s. But it is not only just about "remembering the good old days". They also have glimpses of the more modern sound of post rock, shoegaze and indie rock.
The sophomore album 'Kaunis kesäkaupunki' is a brilliant step in the line of the band's discography. It is still clearly the same band, but the sound and arrangements are much bigger. Actually so big that it would be nice to see how the quartet can handle everything live! The new album is best listened to from the beginning to the end with one repeat, no breaks, no pauses. It builds a beautiful cinematic world around the listener.
Let's dig into the tracks!
'Lupaava sääennuste' (A Promising Weather Forecast)
The intro of the album builds a nice and calm atmosphere, slowly taking the listener deeper into the summer between the Finnish lakes and cities.
'Kauniit kesäkaupungit' (Beautiful Summer Cities)
The actual first track are bonding so well with the intro that it could be just one track without the separate intro and track. The guitars lead the track, balancing between the bigger sound and the calmer parts. The whistle is quite a nice part, which kind of underlines the organic feeling that the whole album is about. The massive sound of wall in the ending is pretty awesome! I can imagine it blowing up the audience's mind in the band's live set.
'Lehtisaaren satakieli' (Nightingale of Lehtisaari)
The ambient nature sounds build the summer ambiance before the delicate guitar steps in. The horns add another warm layer to the track. The whole track is very laid-back with a positive feeling. There are many brilliant licks and short melodies which will make you feel the warm summer breeze.
'Steissi' ("The nickname of the main railway station of Helsinki")
One of the longest tracks of the album starts with a nice intro with the background noises of the railway station. The hypnotic bassline walks the listener deeper into the jazzy world of guitars, percussions and hectic drum beat. 'Steissi' is one of the most dynamic tracks of the album, including also brilliant guitar mastering!
'Lähtevät Kaukojunat' (Departing Long-Distance Trains)
A short track that is built on top of the guitar hook that sounds same time improvised and well thought out. The track has a feeling of a short jamming session which ended up sounding nice and calm.
'Niemisen Valimo' (Foundry of Nieminen)
Another short track that is pretty ambient and almost sounds like a drone soundscape. The name about the Foundry suits well to the track, but I am not sure if I would have put this track on the album. It is somehow breaking the summer atmosphere being really different and even pretty dark. Maybe this is what the band wanted. Who knows?
A Kind of basic track that builds slowly to become bigger and bigger. The very base of the track is super simple. The best part of the song is the varied percussion track.
'Vekki' ("Too many options to translate the word, so let's leave it as it is")
Another darker interlude in between with the warm summer tracks. The soundscape is pretty cool, but again I don't find a reason to include this in the album. Maybe live something like this could somehow work nicely.
'Baana' ("A specific pedestrian/bicycle road in Helsinki")
Strong Kraut rock alert here! The tracks move forward effortlessly. The guitars are brilliant, having a strong 80s feeling. This is definitely a perfect road trip track, no matter which mode of transport you are using! The track also includes some of the most brilliant bass hooks of the whole album. Listen carefully!
Another short track where the band creates really warm pictures in front of the listeners' minds. It has a distant traditional folk touch with the melody and the whole arrangement. Great intro for the last long track.
'Tähtien asento' (The Position of the Stars)
Over seven-minute track puts all the pieces in the right place. 'Tähtien asento' is like a summary of the whole album. It includes pretty much all the elements from the other tracks. There is still the summer feeling present, massive sounds, a lot of great dynamics and most of all beautiful melodies.
'Huili' (The Rest)
A nice outro for the album. Time to rest and enjoy the simple things of life.