J.Tolvi Semiband – Oleilua


A strange, often twee, sometimes annoying LP, but one that you should give some time to, as there’s a work of considerable charm located somewhere under the unusual instrumentation and floaty vibe. I know very little of Jaako Tolvi, apart from the fact that he’s from Finland, and on this hearing he’s a bit of a folksy hippy. Intro is a woozy plod backed by what sounds like a sitar and a loosely tuned guitar. By contrast Lohdutus is a piano based pop song with naff synths and an almost apologetic vocal. Impi-Lisa is a sub-glam trudge; slovenly guitar does battle with some squeaky synths and what sounds like sampled whistles. It’s winsome but avoids being too twee. Anna Minun Horjua is another matter altogether, a charming folk-pop record with what seem to be imitations of cricket, dog and frog noises (and some rattling of bottles). If you like Gruff Rhys, then you will, by this stage, love this album. Gruff springs to mind on the woozy Pentjuen Pentu too…

There’s not much respite from hippy campfire vibes throughout Oleilua. They are certainly well to the fore with the drowsy Banjo-Laulu (it’s as close to an outtake of Nuts in May as you’re likely to get). The charming and slightly daft Sulle is a semi-coherent instrumental that kicks off like a Eurovision Song Contest track, (though it does meander about quite a bit), whereas Huuhkaja is a nice up tempo bop aided and abetted by some blurping synths. Another energetic track is Nuku Rommiin, which reminds me of a subversive John Shuttleworth, especially with that Yamaha synth refrain. Näin Tavella is possibly the most structured piece on the LP; less of a groove with noises than a well-thought out song. But this is only temporary respite; as Onko Täällä Saunaa? Is a return to deranged minor instrumentation and gnomic utterances.

So there you have it; charming, sometimes unfocussed low key pop, give it some patience and you should find it worth your while.