NEW ARTIST - New Tools

New Artist - New Tools

9 songs
40:16 minutes
***** ***


Finland not only has the reputation of being the most intelligent nation in the world and of having been the main force behind the cell phone boom, but this small nation of only five million people has already given birth to more good bands that any statistical law would allow for. And not only that, they even innovated when the rest of the world was complacently cloning actual trends.

Not unlike 22 Pistepirkko, New Artist play experimental pop music that needs some time to work its way into your head, but once inside, it won't be easy to get rid of their original sound. Only a two-piece, New Artist rely heavily and heartily on electronic devices and electronic rhythm, but the occasional guitar guarantees that they most of the time stay this side of pop music. The really cool thing about this band is Antti Hermaja's trombone, soloing in many of the songs, adding a welcome jazzy atmosphere. Brass instruments have been predominant for too long in the ska and soul genres, so it's high time that also experimental pop bands use them, especially the trombone which so far I can only remember in Magellan, but there it was used in a prog metal concept, thus losing much of its warmth. Only five songs are vocal, with Janne Lappalainen singing with a restrained but charismatic voice that owes as much to certain Eighties new wave bands as to the quirkiness of the Residents. The instrumental songs are a different thing, as it is here where New Artist are at times at their most improvisational, which fails to work with Inside and Newearth, the latter being even included with a video-clip. But don't even bother to watch it, it's even drearier than the song.

It's finally the vocal stuff that is most memorable, with Butterflies being my favourite track, but What A World, Hey DJ! (downloadable at the band's website), Light Tonight and Return (sounding like a less effeminate Mercury Rev) not being worse. If you like mellow music that isn't afraid of catchiness, then you should visit the band on the web, download the free track and decide for yourself. I for my part am convinced that New Artist are a force to be reckoned with, especially if they concentrate in the future more on their great vocal stuff.

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