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Suomen Tulli - Kolme kevättä CD (album) cover


Suomen Tulli


Crossover Prog

3.00 | 2 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Most likely Suomen Tulli would have never entered our database if their third album Kukkola (2016) hadn't taken the retro sound a few steps deeper into psychedelia and progressive tendencies. Basically this is not progressive rock but song-oriented, Finnish-language indie rock written by a guitar-playing singer-songwriter (often compared to his countryman Dave Lindholm in his early years). However, the band's very much 70's sounding, highly organic arrangements do add another level to the songs. Kolme kevättä (= Three springs; the title refers to the fact that Sami Heikkilä wrote the songs in the springtime of the years 2010-2012) is their second album, which I find better than the debut Uuteen maailmaan (2012) but not as good as Kukkola.

Of the ten songs some are rather simple, and if you don't much care of song orientation in music, not to speak of not knowing Finnish at all, chances are you won't get much out of them. A good example of a small-scale delicacy and down-to-earth approach is 'Lisa' which has a sparse arrangement of acoustic guitar, softly wailing chords of electric guitar (perhaps a little keys too in the background) plus some Dylanesque harmonica. It's a pretty little song with lots of words and a minimal amount of progression in music. Then there are songs like 'Outolaulu' that have way too much repetition in the lyrics, and even though Sussu Ketola's keyboards and Mika Mustonen's guitar weave interesting retro sounds, the song itself remains boring.

As a whole the 44-minute album stays pleasant and coherent without ever getting tiresome for too long moments. The sound lacks all polish, the production is rather modest, and that's exactly part of the charm in this case. When the band increases the rock power it feels really good. Hammond work and a crispy electric guitar solo make 'Taivaani vallassa' one of the highlights. 'Salaa syksyissäni' has very nice melodies slightly resembling laid-back Canterbury prog of e.g. CARAVAN. The best is saved for last: 'Murheenkryyni' (= a grain of sorrow, freely translated) starts melancholically and with a minimalistic acoustic backing, to reach powerful, proggy dynamics full of emotion.

This is a band worth knowing if you're interested in recent Finnish-language prog-oriented rock. Equally retro-minded as MALADY (though more oriented on lyrics and less progressive musically) or the more heavily rocking SAMMAL, and featuring similar "naked" emotion as RIUTTA.

Matti | 3/5 |


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