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Sammal – Suuliekki

An album to sit back and dissolve into…

Out on Svart Records from 9 March 2018 and reviewed by Jason Guest

The words ‘cool’ and ‘vintage’ come to mind whenever the name Sammal appears. Their 2013 eponymous debut (reviewed here) subtly combined classic rock sounds with 70s prog and psychedelia amid many a wonderful melody, cool bluesy guitar work, and groove after laidback groove. The 2014 EP No 2 (reviewed here) kept the cool vintage, the melodies, and the hooks and saw the band further hone their craft and develop their unique identity, the full effect of which emerged with album number two, 2015’s Myrskyvaroitus. Three years later and here we are with album number three, Suuliekki. And it’s more than worth the wait.

The instrumental opener, ‘Intro’, may not be so creatively titled but it’s catchy as hell. quite a feat for 77 seconds of music. Then, from the title track to closer ‘Samettimetsä’, this album shines with that laidback cool that has underpinned the band’s sound since day one. A key feature of Sammal’s work is that not once do they fall foul of the kind of self-indulgence that prog bands tend to wantonly wallow in. There are plenty of opportunities across the record where a screaming-with-distortion-and-feedback or weeping-with-da-blues guitar solo or a finger-bendingly-impossible keyboard break could hijack each track, but Sammal hold back. The songs breathe and they flow, the band listening to each other, calling, responding, collaborating.

One criticism that could be levelled at the album is that it could perhaps do with something a bit sharp or heavier to vary its dynamic, even a little. But of course, this band knows what they’re good at. They excel in the low- and mid-tempo and in the subtle and the understated, and to change in any way their approach would be to change, even damage, the Sammal that we have come to know these past five years. And we don’t want that. Like their previous releases, Suuliekki is an album to sit back and dissolve into and be transported to some other place a time away. And check that artwork. Sammal never fail to please in that department either.

Track list:

  1. Intro
  2. Suuliekki
  3. Lukitut päivät, kiitävät yöt
  4. Ylistys ja kumarrus
  5. Pinnalle kaltevalle
  6. Vitutuksen valtameri
  7. Maailman surullisin suomalainen
  8. Herran pelko
  9. Samettimetsä

Sammal – Suuliekki

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