Release Date: Feb 11, 2013
Record label: Melodic
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock
Getting to the heart of a record can be a tricky business. Some bands create music so guarded, so locked down in metaphor and musical double-speak, it’s impossible to translate what the fuck is going on. Others, of course, go down the opposite path. Their themes and melodies are so blindingly obvious, you end up searching for some inherent, subconscious meaning that must surely – but usually doesn’t - exist beneath the layers of humdrum pedestrianism.
As a listener, the way that frontman Timo Kaukolampi talks about his band K-X-P's sophomore LP II might make you a little concerned about your own mental health. And for good reason, as K-X-P are band not to be trusted, perhaps even feared. Take the Finnish group's regrettably overlooked but excellent self-titled 2010 debut, which orbited a smorgasbord of maximalist pop fragments around lockstep motorik rhythms, ultimately leaving brains pleasantly gooped like a sous-vide egg.
You can’t fault K-X-P for touting themselves as the ‘anti-band’; nowadays, the concept is not exactly synonymous with creativity. By calling themselves ‘the antidote’, the Finns aren’t staking a claim to owning a disorganised, anarchic sound. On the contrary, their second album possesses well-structured beats, created by modified electronics, a hint of vocal shoegazing and industrial, gravelly loops.
KXP's eponymous debut was a foray into dark, jagged dance that owed an equal debt to krautrock and Frankie Knuckles, jazz fusion and Sweet. Second time around, the Finnish band have softened their sound without sacrificing their intensity. After the ceremonial flourish of Ydolem – the first of four short, sharp bursts of instrumental otherness – comes the Sgt Pepperish pop of Melody, its punky "K! X! P!" refrain tethered to a playful stomp.
Some of this Finnish band’s second album is the best kind of storming krautdisco. It makes you feel cool, like you’ve discovered an underground club where everyone believes it’s the 1970s and there’s an afterparty at Throbbing Gristle’s warehouse. The beat pulses seductively on ‘Staring At The Moon’. ‘Flags & Crosses’ sounds like a nasty Bee Gees.
‘II’ is introduced with a horn section playing a dystopian national anthem, which fazes quickly into opening track Melody. Although starting kitschy enough for the trendsetter kids to sneer at, K-X-P swiftly redeem themselves by having cotton light vocals drowned behind a strong up beat chord progression. Unbeknownst to future album buyers, this Helsinki trio will succeeded in creating a very positive initial impression; a chorus that chants “Melody… Melo-da” can’t be disliked, afterall, it’s the Nordic way, nej?”II’ is a bit of a weird one as the tracks interchange between short musical experiments to five minute stories.