'Ocelot' - 'Mä voin ottaa sun ikävän pois' (EP)
We're covering a fair amount of musical ground today, and we're delighted to introduce you to 'Ocelot', a Finnish trio who've released their debut EP today, 12th April, and it's entitled 'Mä voin ottaa sun ikävän pois', which possibly translates to 'What Can I Take Away', but maybe don't take our word for it. I'll describe it as unconventional alternative pop, based around piano and some fairly extraordinary vocals, and whilst at first I thought I might only be able to handle it all in small quantities, I've now had it on repeat all afternoon - it's addictive and charming. The EP released through the Soliti label, which is pretty much a guarantee of high quality too.
So 'Ocelot' comprise 3 musicians, Emilia Pennanen (piano / vocals), Satu Salminen (percussion) and Johanna Järvinen (bass), and the songs were originally written by Emilia a few years back when she was fighting through the anxiety of going to college, and subsequently when she moved to the UK and the US. The songs were written in Finnish because they were simply meant for herself, but were then developed and arranged for the full trio after they formed the band.
'Mä voin ottaa sun ikävän pois' opens with Hämärä, and immediately I'm struck by that lovely piano sound, which builds in volume with the percussion and bass, and has a driving repetition which is powerful and dramatic - it will certainly capture your attention. And so will the vocals, which are pretty much indescribable, not unworldly just unusual, quirky, but with this expressive tone that becomes less harsh and more beautiful on each listen. 'Ikävä' is probably my favourite track on the EP, I just the love the rhythms - the pause and change in direction just over 1 min 10 is so clever, and I like too the blend of sound between percussion, piano and bass, it feels like a natural combination. 'Sä et saa mua' has a thumping piano and bass to carry it along relentlessly, whilst the concluding track 'Sun Oon' maintains the intensity with huge piano chords accompanying Emilia's ever demonstrative vocals, and building to a huge musical climax.
Of course with it being in Finnish I do have a huge disadvantage lyrically, and I'm not claiming this will have widespread UK appeal. But future 'Ocelot' releases will always be welcomed on our pages, with piano parts which I feel would still be being belted out even if the building was collapsing around the band, vocals which somehow carve out striking melodies, and musical arrangements that create a sound texture that I've not quite heard before. I hope everyone will give it a fair listen.