Sunday, 11 March 2018

MALADY - TOINEN TOISTA (SVART Records LP, CD, D/L).

Down in our psychedelic basement we absolutely love the lush organic sound of old Mellotrons and Toinen Toista, the new album from Finnish Prog Rock band Malady, is completely bathed in the sweeping string and flute loops of this iconic instrument, evoking the early 70s era of the classic BritProg bands such as Yes, King Crimson, Camel, Genesis, Gentle Giant, Caravan among many others. As if escaping from a time capsule marked “1971”, Toinen Toista, along with lavish Mellotron washes, has all the other necessary elements in place (growling Hammond organ, fluttering Mini-Moog, soaring guitars and a supple, Jazzy rhythm section) that will make any serious ProgHead go weak at the knees. Malady’s 2015 eponymous debut album was a deserved underground hit, a beautifully realised piece of original Finnish Progressive Rock with their very British influences glazed with the kind of homegrown sweetness only vintage Scandinavian Prog Rock can provide………….the new album ups the ante somewhat with an epic, multi-layered 23 minute track that channels the shifting soundscapes of Close To Edge era Yes along with four other fantastic tracks with their roots very firmly in the golden age of 1970s “progressive” music.

Fluid and beautifully mellow, Toinen Toista opens with the stunning title track where Hammond organ and guitar coil around each other seductively evoking the sound of early Camel before melting into the short violin led neo-classical interlude ‘Laulu Sisaruksille’. It’s all comfortingly familiar, Malady have cherry picked all the best moments from your favourite 70s Prog records and created an album, although not stunningly original, that strips away the excess that gave the genre such a bad name towards the end of the 70s. It’s a very skillfully crafted LP and Malady are not afraid to mix it up either, ‘Tiedon Kehtolaulu’ mashes together 70s Space Disco bass lines with swirling Moog and Etsijän Elinehto takes its inspiration from mid-period…..erm…..commercially viable Pink Floyd with Rick Wright’s organ sound running through its core and topped off with a scorching Gilmour-esque solo. Flip the disc and check the 23 minute track 'Nurja Puoli' that ebbs and flows through different moods and textures. This is where Malady’s many influences/inspiration really show themselves, mixing the more gentle side of King Crimson with Steve Hackett’s fluent guitar runs then adding the shifting complexity of Yes to this potent brew just for starters. Never tipping over into self indulgence as it shifts through the gears, ‘Nurja Puoli’ is an epic journey through Roger Dean landscapes, distilling the essence of genre that still has the power to be genuinely thrilling nearly 50 years on from its heyday. For the dedicated Prog Rock fan who thought the day the music died was when Gentle Giant announced they were splitting up, this is an essential purchase.

Due to be released via Finnish label SVART Records on LP and CD on 30/03/2018, Toinen Toista by Malady is available to pre-order from the SVART website now. You can check out the album, stream or buy the digital download here…………….

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