K-X-P – II

K-X-P’s second album, denominated simply by the roman numerals, II, is introduced with a horn section playing a dystopian national anthem, which quickly fazes into the opening track Melody. Although starting kitshy-enough for the trendsetter kids to sneer at, K-X-P redeem themselves by having cotton light vocals drowned behind a strong up beat chord progression. Unbeknownst to future album buyers, this Helsinki trio will succeeded in creating a very positive initial impression; a chorus that chants “Melody…Melo-da” can’t be disliked, afterall, it’s the Nordic way, nej?

Album II, is a bit of a weird one as the tracks interchange between short musical experiments to  five minute stories. Although creative, it can often feel a bit displaced.  Considering that this has been produced as a follow-up release, K-X-P can receive a round of applause for successfully managing to capture a sound that drifts between wet ‘90s techno and a contemporary remake of ‘80s electro. But be aware: Individual songs are unintelligible if the album is not listened to in full.

Stand out track Staring At The Moon aligns itself with the same tech-y euphoria of MGMT, Edward Sharpe… and the atmospheric sounds of Goldfrapp. With some strobe synths and a nice hook, it’s a composition tastefully awash with pleasant harmonies. Unfortunately, II is not exempt from ‘halfway syndrome’, where somewhere between the sixth and seventh tracks (Ekmviv’s nineteen seconds of water droplet synth and The Valley’s female vocal round) the listener finds it difficult to keep interest due to the band’s restlessness and changing motifs.

Looking back at the Eurovision 2006 mega-song Hard Rock Hallelujah, we have enough evidence to show that the Finnish have always been counter culture. With the tenth track Reel Ghosts being an excerpt from an aria played in retrograde it makes you wonder about the full extent of the Finnish imagination. The whole album is  an intergalactic funeral dirge; inspiring and capturing whilst in  the throng of it, but just like death, you eventually come to terms with it.

It’s not trance, it’s not electro, it’s not quite orchestral – it’s not quite anything. They are a band with good ideas but unsteady appeal. But owinng to the nature of their sound, perhaps they don’t really care.

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