Mikko Joensuu once fronted a Finnish band with a psychedelic sound. Now he’s gone solo, shifted gears and is headed to pastures new, painting a lush, laid-back landscape as he goes.
His debut as a solo artist (released as a limited edition 12″ vinyl and digital EP via Fullsteam Records in March) consists of two tracks. Only two tracks you might be thinking? Well yes, but that is two-tracks-worth of ethereal pop goodness that clock in at 20 minutes in length. Believe me, you won’t feel short changed after exchanging your hard earned coppers for this platter.
Hymnal vocal tones
‘Land of Darkness’ is the first track. Floating melodies, swirling sounds and hymnal vocal tones, with frequent mentions to ‘the promised land’, take us on a trip for just over 7 minutes. And still we are left wanting more!
Which is where second track ‘Lake of Fire’ takes over, for 12 minutes 47 seconds. A slow burner, this track blissfully meanders, taking twists and turns with electronic bleeps and synth swirls, building intermittently to anthemic crescendos. Mikko Joensuu’s rich vocals (on this track in particular) remind me of Spencer Krug (Moonface) with fellow Finnish band Siinai, accompanied by a similar krautrock-esque sound.
And before you know it, the world of Joensuu that enveloped you safely for 20 minutes, is over all too quickly. Time to hit that ‘play’ button again? Yes, and this time watch the video (directed by Jonathan Ben-Ami) for ‘Land of Darkness’, a beautifully simple visual accompaniment featuring cosmic glimpses of ‘the promised land’ he sings of?
Mikko Joensuu was featured as one of my Nordic tips for a UK radio station on 4 April (see/listen here, scroll through to 1 hour 22 minutes) and on the Nordic Playlist of 7 April (see here).
Mikko Joensuu on Facebook
Released 7 March 2014:
Album available via iTunes