Our Album of the Week is a couple of days later than normal, but we like to think it's a particularly good selection, and it's from a band we've featured a few times before. 'Pastis' are from Finland, and we've followed their progress for some time, featuring their debut EP 'Four Stories', as well as a steady stream of singles in the run up to their debut album 'Circles', which was released last Friday. Originally meeting on the football terraces, they are now a 5 piece band, and their music is an attractive blend of Indie Rock styles - from Britpop to more modern Indie Rock.
The album opens with the inviting 'Around Here', showing an early view of their melodic intent, with optimistic lyrics that encourage everyone to get off their backsides and stop the procrastination. But it's not necessarily the strongest song on the album, and 'The King and the Good Hangman' gives us a better idea of what's to come, with clever guitar contributions and a banging anthemic chorus. And by the time they reached the previously released (and written about) 'Amazon', they're in full flight with the vocal harmonies hitting the mark and a particularly entertaining middle section and build up some 2 minutes in.
The pace of the album changes with 'Barrack Street', a whimsical story featuring David Livingstone the explorer and I think they somehow pull it off. But actually the highlight of the album for me is 'Ballad of Franz Reichelt', charting the French tailor who died jumping off the Eiffel Tower in his homemade parachute, not only because I like the subject matter, but the darker sounding guitar works well, and we're offered a huge chorus that is my favourite of all the huge choruses. We wrote about 'Valour Valour' previously, and it is probably a tiny bit cliched in an indie style, but I do still love it - who cares if it's a guilty pleasure. 'Disco Volante', a vibrant and slightly unruly track, and I love contributions from both bass and guitar, whilst title track 'Circles' is inevitably more reflective, with positive lyrics that look both backwards and into the future, and of course another huge chorus to wrap things up.
I do like 'Pastis', and 'Circles' does really deliver a consistently high standard of melodic indie rock across all 11 tracks. It's true that they might not be the most 'original' sounding band, with their blend of Indie styles, but I have no problem with this at all, because what's not to like about great sounding guitars, big tunes and some interesting storytelling too. Pastis write a darn good song, as well as the ability to churn out sing-a-long anthem after anthem, and 'Circles is an entertaining Indie romp.
Nordic Music Review 8/10