Raadelma is a Finnish trio that plays fragile and atmospheric noir jazz, with a touch of indie pop. This is the group's debut full-length, and previously they've released just one EP, entitled "Tora," which came out in '07. The group had a saxophone-player on the "Tora"-EP, but now they're a more minimalistic group of drums, bass guitar, female vocals and keyboards. After releasing this album Raadelma added a vibraphone-player to their line-up (note that he performed on this album, too, as a session member), and are currently working on their second album.
"Fragile" is the key word here. This is music to be listened in silence, preferably in a a dimly lit room. The songs range from (and between) calm and minimalistic indie-pop to where they're most comfortable at: melancholic and smoky noir jazz. The songs are open and honest, yet they don't try to explain anything too deeply; they're open for each one to feel, examine and interpret them. The album is themed around emotional problems and dilemmas and isn't trying to hide it; from depressed ponderings and self-analyzation to the aggression of "Musta Minuutti," everything is delivered to their fullest. Yet the album sounds like an album instead of a shattered song-collection.
I would guess that the album's production has taken a while, as it seems that everything falls into place. The emotional female vocals boast honesty and personality, but still remain passive and introvert enough to fit perfectly into the album's overall feel. The sturdy bass guitar has a lot of room in the mix, and holds a lot of responsibility for the songs' drive and dark undercurrent. The drums and stronger percussions have just the right amount of energy to keep the songs in movement and enhance the slightly faster bits, but without forcing them to haste. Finally, the various synths and the vibraphone take care of the more subtle and minimalistic nuances, along with some leading melodies. Various different keyboards were used in the recording, so you can bet they don't start to sound dull at any point of the album.
The fold-out digipack looks damn fancy. The three-panel cover image is a very colourful and somewhat psychedelia-influenced collage of cat-like figures, dots, swirls and splatters. Its minimalism, fragility and something of an "indie-vibe" all suit the album, although it doesn't look as bleak and melancholic as the music sounds like. Even so, it presents a lot to look at and examine, especially so since it isn't glossed. The main infos about the album are included in the inlay, but it's a pity that the lyrics aren't. I would've liked to have a closer look at them.
This album is the result of a lot of effort, and the band has seemingly known both their capabilities and limits. I would hope they'll dare to take the most minimalistic moments further, and find a way to tie the soundscape together more strongly; some of the higher pitches don't really come together with the darker bass-notes, and the same goes for the clash between the darkest and the poppiest moments of the album. Do note that I don't mean the clash between these two extremities (if so can be said) to result from pretentiousness or meaningless outreaching; they're moreso like two faces or mental states of a same entity.
From catchy and poppy moments, such as the two opening tracks, to the smoky jazz of "Ajan Tuhlausta" building up with a hangover-pace, the album keeps the listener in its grip - even the reggae-influences on "Ilmaan ja Veteen" blend in seamlessly. "Vain Mielipuoli Päästää Kaltaisensa Sisään" is a bold album, and it'll be interesting to see how the band manages to take their concept further.