Koria Kitten Riot - 'Songs of Hope and Science'
After Jaakko Aukusti and Astrid Swan, we're staying in Finland and a return to one of our favourite Nordic bands, Koria Kitten Riot and their new album 'Songs of Hope and Science'. This band means a lot to me, as I know whatever happens to this website over the next 5 or 10 years (or even in the next month, if work commitments continue like this...), from a really personal perspective finding out about the existence of bands such as Koria Kitten Riot has made the whole project worthwhile. So to be able to listen to their new album on release day was genuinely exciting for me, and the follow up to 'Rich Men, Poor Men, Good Men' certainly doesn't disappoint.
'Rich Men, Poor Men, Good Men' was such a well written album, with a dark humour and a wry view of the world, and whilst 'Songs of Hope and Science' is still unmistakably a Koria Kitten Riot album, it feels more mature from a song writing perspective, and the general theme - that we can explain much of what goes on around us through science, is thoughtful and interesting. The lyrics in particular fascinate me, every phrase seems to have a point, every word carefully positioned, but always wrapped in that soft Koria Kitten Riot style - never confrontational and always delivered with subtlety.
After the opening track 'Hope and Science' , we're offered 'The Earth Will Spin Around', a lovely 60's influenced track with a bright chorus and lyrics which set out one of the key messages behind the album - 'You can say what you want, but the truth is that the world will spin around', and every day and every night, streams of sunlight will keep falling on the ground', because these funny little lives that we lead are, after all, governed by natural science. 'The Laughing Man is a track about jealousy, inspired (as we told last year in our interview with songwriter 'Antti Reikko) by the rivalries in the film Amadeus, and it's the most high tempo track on the album, with a slightly riotous feel to it. 'High on Cigarettes' has a simpler theme to it, a song apparently about getting depression, and leading straight on to 'Hold On Tight', a song about recovery, with a gorgeous melodic chorus.
Listening to 'Anything at All' for the umpteenth time today reminds me that I really need to track down and consider the full lyrics in quiet solitude, its delivered at a pace that my ageing ears struggle to comprehend, but I love the feel of the track and the quick fire phrases thrown at me. And I love 'White Trash Kids' for a similar reason - 'I think I'm going home in a box I've been defeated', Antti Reikko exclaims, in a thoughtful expressive track, with musical momentum provided by a clever bass line, and an instrumental crescendo accompanying a guitar solo, it has an intensity to it that I like. But maybe my favourite track is saved until last, 'Forever's Going to Be a Long, Long Time' - I just love the chorus, the musical instrumentation, and the hugely positive feel of the track. It's such a great upbeat way to finish an album that considers everything from depression to mortality.
Koria Kitten Riot have this lovely ability to prod humanity in the ribs with a big stick, highlighting all its weak points as well as the frailty of life in general, but 'Songs of Hope and Science' has an uplifting feel to it too, a sense of purpose and confidence in its writing. As always the tracks are written in that familiar slightly whimsical style, that they would rather poke fun at the world rather than wallow in its self pity. And the theme of hope reminds me too that there is always something to look forward to, no matter how dark things can look - similar to the hugely positive outlook that a book such as 'Reasons to Stay Alive' (by Matt Haig) can offer. Hope does indeed 'lie just around the corner', and Koria Kitten Riot, with their gentle melodic songwriting and thoughtful lyrics, point us all helpfully in the right direction.
Nordic Music Review 8.5 /10