Malady is a band from Helsinki in Finland returning with their second album, Toinen Toista, which consists of five tracks with a total playing time of forty minutes. Malady released their debut album in 2015 on Svart Records, who have also issued this new album.
The music is rooted in seventies Scandinavian progressive rock, that said there is still a modern feel as they blend this love of prog with folk elements and touches of jazz. The album has a vintage sound and this may be partly due to the warm mix, which is even clearly noticeable on the download I have for review.
It’s a beautifully put together album, which looking at the track timings would shine on vinyl with one side being given up to track five, Nurja Puoli, which clocks in at just under twenty-three minutes. The warmth of the album’s feel is almost comforting as the music envelops you, but you need patience to become fully absorbed into the musical journey. If you are able to do that then the rewards are many as this is a most enjoyable album. The song writing is of an excellent standard and each band member plays with a lot of skill and finesse with vocals delivered by Babak Issabeigloo in his native Finnish, which far from detracting from the music goes a long way to enhancing the overall atmosphere.
The songs were composed and arranged by the band in collaboration, and they state that the album “…is open to many interpretations and laden with symbolism, but at its core lays the basic questions of being human and the transient nature of things”.
Toinen Toista opens with the title track and a dream like feel provided by the bass and guitar, drums adding fills here and there. Things change as the guitar picks up the pace with a beautiful melody some four minutes in, before the vocals start. This segues into the next track and the third so seamlessly that you could be forgiven for thinking they are all movements of the same piece. Laulu Sisaruksille starts with keys and rumbling drums before moving into a classical vibe with strings leading the song forward to the smooth, almost jazzy funk vibe of Tiedon Kehtolaulu. Lyrics are delivered almost from the off, again enhancing the mood of the piece, with bright and positive keyboards wrapping the melody around the main structure of the song.
The high standards continue on Etsijän Elinehto, with some blistering guitar supported by Hammond organ, before we get to the twenty three minute closer, Nurja Puoli. On this track the band get the opportunity to stretch out and express themselves, each player getting the chance to shine in what feels like an improvised groove. That said there is definitely structure here, and that is down to the skills shown by the band. There is some great guitar work throughout, the bass and drums hold things together, offering drive and direction, the sound filled out and embellished by the excellent keyboards. The guitar has a great feel delivering some beautiful lines, at one point reminiscent of Santana. Towards the latter half of the song, things get a little more angular, edgy and powerful, the bass holding everything together, before the melody takes over and things settle back. The track evolves and develops seamlessly, always holding your interest; never at any point do you believe it is too long.
This album is an easy listen, creating dreamlike but at times edgy moments, multi-layered with a lot of depth and detail to discover on repeated plays. It is undoubtedly retro in feel, but it definitely has a modern approach and dedication that lifts it to another level. Well worth investigating, I am glad I did.
01. Toinen Toista (6:56)
02. Laulu Sisaruksille (1:34)
03. Tiedon Kehtolaulu (3:47)
04. Etsijän Elinehto (5:35)
05. Nurja Puoli (22:58)
Total Time – 40:50
Tony Björkman – Guitar
Babak Issabeigloo – Guitar & Vocals
Juuso Jylhänlehto – Drums
Ville Rohiola – Hammond Organ & Keyboards
Jonni Tanskanen – Bass Guitar
Record Label: Svart Records
Country of Origin: Finland
Year of Release: 30th March 2018