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Höyry-Kone - Hyönteisiä Voi Rakastaa CD (album) cover





3.86 | 72 ratings

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3 stars (7/10)

Well the Finnish certainly can be an odd bunch, can't they? Höyry-Kone ('steam-engine' to us English-speakers) popped up in the nineties with an odd mixture of sounds that has rightfully earned them a place in the RIO/Avant-Prog subgenre. On their first album, "Hyönteisiä Voi Rakastaa", you can hear quite a lot of things. You can hear bits of jazz, in the instrumentation and in the approach. You can hear the influence of other eclectic prog bands, especially King Crimson, and not just the 70s stuff either (a lot of the interwoven rhythmic riffs call to mind KC's 80s classic "Discipline"). You can hear classical, and even some dance/techno-like segments, plus a large number of other ingredients, all thrown together in an intentionally eccentric bundle.

Does it work? Well, mostly, but not entirely. Despite the variety of influences, a lot of the songs actually end up feeling quite similar, and on top of that not every experimental idea is successful. I'm not overly keen on the more electronic/techno influenced sections, though they are luckily not that common. Also, some of the instruments can occasionally be a bit cheap-sounding, which gets a little distracting from time to time.

However there are some strong, memorable moments on this album. There are some really evocative passages of violin, and plenty of engaging odd rhythms to enjoy. The vocals in particular are a real draw, one of the more interesting things about Höyry-Kone. Often powerfully booming in a semi-operatic manner (just one of the many ways that Höyry-Kone call to mind fellow Finnish proggers Haikara), sometimes delicate, but always effective. I sometimes find myself singing small portions of the Finnish lyrics to myself, so it has even managed to cross the language divide, albeit anybody from Finland would probably find my butchering of their mother tongue quite laughable.

"Hyönteisiä Voi Rakastaa" is a decent collections of songs, songs which are usually short, complex, quirky, and can change quite quickly (which can sometimes be a good or bad thing). Not everything works, but this is definitely an interesting release, though somewhat overshadowed by Höyry-Kone's next album, "Huono Parturi". If nothing else, the band should be commended on their desire to try something new, because they have certainly achieved that.

ScorchedFirth | 3/5 |


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