Album Review: Malady – Toinen Toista

As sophomore albums go, the latest release from the Finnish progressive rock collective – highly revered for its eponymous debut album – pretty much nails it. Like all noteworthy follow up albums, Toinen Toista take its predecessors music, develops its into something even more exciting, before using its more mature style to examine the timeless question of life, the universe and everything.

Bass mumbles its way through the emptiness filling the titular and opening track, a piece that soon crashes into a nostalgic sequence of smoky guitars, symbol thrashes and psychedelic waves so expertly composed, it evokes the brazen charm of rock’s first pioneers.

Synth notes, violins and nothing else comprise “Laulu Sisaruksille”, conversely, and in shape in their intertwinement with one another a thoughtful, oddly fitting interlude between the preceding “Toinen Toista” and subsequent “Tiedon Kehtolaulu”.

Whilst the former initiates the entire sequence by saluting artistic styles that influenced it – which seems to be namely that of The Doors and Rainbow – the third track on the album combines the dreamy nonchalance of lounge music with 60’s style psychedelia and soft rock mid tempos to develop a piece so multifaceted, it demands its listeners to cleanse palettes with the brief escapism of string melodies.

Performers of the 60’s are once again venerated, although this time through wind instrumentation, dominance of electric guitars and psychedelic undercurrents, in “Etsikan Elinehto”, a relatively brief track that wraps itself in comfort and strolls comfortably into the album’s 22 minute long finale.

The point in the album where contemporary math rock and acoustic guitars fuse, the concluding track proudly boasts the most fervent skill of every band member: creating rock music. Conscious of the perils of over reliance on the six-stringed string, the Finnish collective imbues its concluding track with what listeners would predominantly call the better elements of modern indie rock, with synth and electro chords creating a mellow impact to mark a spiritual shift in the album.

Passionate vocals introduced midway into the song kick the music into a punchier melody, illuminating, for one final time, the classic progressive rock influence that beats in every song. The loyalty of the band to the genre is best typified, however, in the psychedelia, Proto Metal and steamy guitars comprising the five minute melange that closes the song.

Fling flutes, emphatic vocals and gentle percussion into the mixture and we have a clear example of the willingness and zest required to produce a modern day rock epic – that eagerness to grow and learn that separates Malady from regular rock bands.

Beth Andralojc

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