If you want an example of what the Internet can do for music, then you need look no further than this quartet from the arctic city of Oulu in Finland. We can’t imagine an indie band would get noticed this early in their careers from a city as remote as that were we back in 1974! We know that you’ve never heard of Oulu, but with the Internet that doesn’t matter anymore. In fact, does the Internet make geography entirely irrelevant these days?
Not only are they from a distant cold corner of Finland, but they jam out a style of racket-indie-pop that’s so perfectly designed for the UK market, nestling their inspirations somewhere between Two Door Cinema Club and The Wombats. We’d like to warn them that they’re in danger of sounding a little too ‘last decade’ if they soak up more of the latter, although thankfully, on the evidence to date, it’s more a lot more Two Door. In fact, if the float any closer to the Northern Irish band’s sound they’re in danger of people assuming they’re one and the same – just one listen to their track, Helsinki Art Scene, and it’s hard to get Two Door’s image out of your mind!
Their homeland blurs further into the background upon hearing the voice of the lead singer, Esa. He doesn’t just sing in English, but he’s virtually got a northern accent. It’s almost weird and had us double checking that this whole Finland story wasn’t in fact some Nordic joke. Add his vocals to the straight up bang/crash indie pop backing and you wonder if there’s any Finish ingredients at all.
It’s not a massive issue and shouldn’t stand in the way of success, particularly in the UK. Helsinki Art Scene was a blog smash last September, following their self-released debut EP. It’s a sugar-rush of a song that follows the exact same route as most other indie pop of this kind, with rapidly plucked high guitar notes and a nervous heartbeat pace. It’s as decent as it is forgetful. It’s not that they’re writing bad tunes, but more that they’re writing the exact same tunes as other bands.
They’ve just returned with their brand new single and it’s got the blog’s tongues flapping, with more of the same upbeat and bright song writing. Family is yet another tune that begins with a crash of noise, before the vocals lead you to an enjoyable guitar riff. Sadly they shoehorn in more “ooh’s” and “ahh’s” for the chorus, which may prove to be perfect for the happy-go-lucky teen market, but it also comes across as a little bit immature. Fortunately their fresh faces and young ages are perfectly suited – indeed what else would they get away with playing? Just like Two Door they’d look silly attempting Pink Floyd covers, so the new single seems to be yet another rewardingly shiny example of a band playing with their hearts and aiming them straight at the adoring teenagers, who no doubt pogo all night long at their live shows.
Overall, they have every chance of making a career out of this well-designed, positive straight-up indie pop music. They tick enough boxes to earn a label signature and we imagine that their live sets are 30 minutes of smiles and bouncing. If they can just add in something a little more original to their constructions, using their clear influences to create something fresher than their current releases. Their big problem won’t be that they’re not good enough, but that they fail to find that allusive, distinctive ingredient. Without this they’re in danger of disappearing back into the Internet from whence they came. (MB)
SATELLITE STORIES – FAMILY
SATELLITE STORIES – HELSINKI ART SCENE