(Svart Records, out Fri 30 Mar 2018)
Helsinki prog-rock band Malady offer listeners a forty minute trip to the 70s with their second album Toinen Toista. Treble fuelled guitar melodies dominate the album with accompaniment coming from energetic synths and basses. However, Malady escape the genre of nostalgia rock by offering more than a couple of surprises.
The title track opens the album with what sounds like the band warming up on stage, before suddenly bursting into a memorable tune. The repetitive melody of the guitars is guaranteed to be stuck in listeners’ heads for days to come, and the deceptive speed of the bass pops out at the end of each guitar melody. More than halfway through, just when you could be forgiven for thinking this is an instrumental, the vocals arrive. Unfortunately they don’t quite match the excitement of the what’s gone before. That said, they serve to pace the song, until the guitar melody returns yet again to play out.
With the 70s sound firmly established, Malady play with expectations on the second track. Laulu sisaruksille flows straight from the opener with the familiar synths, before morphing into a piece of classical music. The stringed instruments offer an interlude which is ended by Tiedon kehtolaulu, a funky and groovy take on psych rock. With such seamless transitions the opening three tracks blend to form one soothing movement.
The album feels like it was made for vinyl. With each track complimenting the next so well, it works best when listened to from start to finish. Etsijän elinehto offers one of the best basslines on the album while reimagining the melody of the opening track. The track starts with an eerie synth, then passes through a doorway into 70s rock with loud guitars riffing over intense organs. The 23-minute epic Nurja puoli closes the album by bringing classic prog rock into the contemporary.
Toinen Toista is a cross between a love letter to prog rock and a thesis on what makes it great. More than just sounding like the 70s, Malady develop their own style throughout the forty minutes and create a fun and hopeful album. With its release scheduled nicely for the coming season, hopefully sun and warm weather will arrive to accompany this lively and comforting album.