01 May 2021 - Ben
Shoegaze / Space Rock | Release date: 23 Apr 2021
Ludalloy’s debut album has been ten years in the making, which seems to have helped the band craft their schoolyard tunes into a solid tribute to Jangle and Shoegaze.
I have a lot of time for the Finns. From their relatively youthful country to their excellent rally drivers and from their impenetrable language (for outsiders) to their warm and friendly demeanour. Finland is a country that has brought the world a lot of joy from their relatively short time as an actual country.
This three-piece band from that wonderful country adds to my list of “Things from Finland that Bring Me Joy” – it’s a working title, so please don’t judge me.
From the outset – from the very first chord – Ludalloy tell you exactly where their influences lie. If you can imagine Cocteau Twins tickling your ears with playful guitars and close-harmony male/female vocals, you’re halfway there. The lyrics allude to spirituality and finding strength and purpose from within, which is perfectly fine and uplifting.
The vocals are provided by guitarist and lyricist Jiri Mustajärvi, and bassist Aino Vuorenmaa, whose voices intertwine beautifully throughout the album – sometimes with one taking precedence over the other, but always perfectly weighted.
Jiri is a man who wears his C86 influences proudly. The Jangles are immaculate, and the minor 7th chords are in abundance. Reverb and delay are never far from the mix and you just know that Jiri has spent those years wisely crafting the exact tone and timbre to elucidate his feeling. And that, I think, is the key to this album – feeling.
This is a very “people” album – the lyrics urge us as free humans to beat our own path through life and to find inner strength from within. Some of the lyrics verge on the nonsensical, but the overall message is positive and relatable.
As you can imagine from such an immaculately time-specific mid-eighties-to-early-nineties aesthetic, the songs capture moments in that jangle pop era, just as it was mutating into Shoegaze. Some songs feature pounding, driving drums a la Swervedriver and Catherine Wheel, while others bring the swooning and soaring effects of Ride or Slowdive.
As an example, ‘Astral Sails’ opens with a pounding chord progression before melting into pools of dreamy Ride insistence. As the song progresses, the vocals take a discordant approach to the music, which makes for MBV-style adversarial feelings. It’s very well put together and shows how well the band have studied the subject matter.
Word on the street tells me that some of these songs were born a decade ago, while Jiri was still in high school and flying solo. There are some songs on this album that seem to be a bit more mature and well-rounded, but that’s not to the detriment of other songs in this collection. The whole album works very well as a journey moving through pounding drums, insistent guitars, lethargic guitars, ambient guitars, juddering bass and stellar drums.
Over the last ten years, Jiri seems to have gained a band, developed the songs and crafted them into a coherent and thoroughly enjoyable album. I knew my Finnish friends wouldn’t fail me.