Islaja - "Palaa Aurinkoon"
(Fonal Records 2005, FR-36)

From Aural Innovations #31 (June 2005)

Great underground experimental rock? From Finland. This is a very magical and special CD. I've always made the argument that a musician doesn't need to play an instrument well, or at all, to make "good/relevent" music, and this CD is a perfect example of that theory, but also really stretches it in places. Islaja's second album was born in two different places that have been sewed up one to another with the binds of words and a rich sound world. Here and there, Islaja's friends have lent their voices for this world. Loose guitar paths, long strokes of wind istruments, glasses and toys that clink, rattle and tinkle, rhythms, keyboards and Islaja's wonderful, many-faceted voice are cooing in a miraculous net.

ROHKAISULAULU - crappy guitar that sounds great. More people should play crappy guitar. Somehow she can make not singing in key or being able to play a lick of guitar sound great. UNI POLLONA OLEMISESTA - more of the same with chord organ at end. Magical music that can't be compared to anything. Islaja really has a beautiful, haunting, pure and spiritual out of time voice that makes the listener feel like they are on three hits of Syd. The album is a spontaneous texture of muscle, cartilage and liquid, everything organized in such a surprising way that one can't believe right away that it's a human being, but soon enough it becomes clear that it's a most ingenious creature. PALAA AURINKOON - chord organ, hand drum clapping jam. HAAVEILIJA - more wonderful out of tune guitar, beautiful piano tinkling. SENKUN TANSSITAAN - o.k. so this guitar is sounding a bit too primitive? Maybe not! Awesome crappy guitar, weird keyboard, electronics, male vocals. SATEEN TULLESSA - Nico like, experimental church brunch chord organ with synth pulse, nice guitar. TULE PUUTARHAAN - I can't understand anything she says but it sounds good. More poppy sounding but not pop in an FM radio way but pop in a Shags or Daniel Johnston way. It does get very nice and ethereal with the chord organ and vocals. It evolves by itself. It tells us how everything metamorphoses, it relies on itself and infuses belief into the listener that one can change the world. The secret place where the creature invites the listener is revealed to be our real world, it lives here with us. (So says Lau Naukkarinen) This CD is what music should be; magical and real.

For more information you can visit thte Islaja web site at:
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Reviewed by Carlton Crutcher

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