Sunday, March 27, 2011

Review: Poutatorvi - Poutatorvi (2009, Lusti Music)

Not long ago I was contacted by Markus Pajakkala regarding his project, Utopianisti (which I’ve also reviewed). Markus was also kind enough to offer me to listen to two other projects he’s involved in, one of which is Poutatorvi, a band that draws its influences from varied sources but produces a coherent and accessible output.

They were formed in 2005 by 5 musicians in Kangasala, Finland with the aim to play bouncy and vigorous music. They released two EPs (Poutatorvi in 2005 and Etelää pohjoisesta, itää lännestä in 2007). In 2009, they released this full-length, Poutatorvi, which also has a few tunes from the EPs remade for this release. The lineup here consists of 6 members plus guest brass players and a violinist.

This is some of the most fun music I’ve heard ever since discovering Hidria Spacefolk. If you’re after excellent groovy, rhythmic, cool and propulsive music, you’re going to get your share of it here.
Straddling the lines of pop-ish music, the band fuses styles, from funk, disco and jazz to rock and folk, all this in a very rhythmic and attractive fashion. While the music may sound simplistic at first, it does “hide” inside intricate musicianship and structures as well as extremely catchy tunes.

I was reminded of some other bands while listening to this, a little because of a few similarities in styles (on a few tunes) as well as in spirit of the music: Miriodor (namely in albums like Jongelries Elastiques and Mekano) and Jaga Jazzist (namely in their latest offering, One-Armed Bandit).
While Poutatorvi doesn’t sound like these two, there are points of similarities and reference: in the instruments used and in the cheekiness and joviality of the music. For example: to Miriodor in Conveyer Streets and to Jaga Jazzist in Jääpalmu. You could also make a comparison to Gogol Bordello if you wish, with regards to the folk/gypsy/Balkan musical aspect.
However, Poutatorvi stand well on their own and have created for themselves a well defined niche, a varied and energetic kind of music, one that mingles elements from jazz, electronic music, rock, disco, folk etc.
There is a nice cover of Haikara’s song Köyhän Pojan Kerjäys, sung by a reggae singer (Puppa J), and the song does indeed gain a raggae vibe, as does the following tune, Lämmittelevät Pingviinit with a delightful flute solo.

This is one of the most fun albums I’ve heard in a while. But “fun” alone doesn’t cut it. To top that, this is also one of the most catchy and cool albums that have graced my ears lately. This is a band that knows what to do to grab the ears of its listeners. This is a band that knows the value of a good beat, and has the skills to conceive tunes that will crawl into your ears and make you want to listen to them again.

- Tapio Keihäs: piano, synth, accordion
- Pekka Laiho: guitar
- Timi-Artturi Mäkelä: bass, synths
- Markus Pajakkala: saxes, flutes, synths
- Jussi Prusti: drums, cajon, e-pad
- Olli "Trumpenator" Helin: trumpet, percussion


Stream their album on Bandcamp:

Making of Poutatorvi:

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