I was having a conversation yesterday with someone ‘new’ to Nordic music, who was commenting on the ethereal nature of many releases, add Finnish indie folk duo ‘Karina’ at first listen probably seem a perfect example of the style.
Consisting musicians Karin Mäkiranta & Helmi Tikkanen, they first arrived on the scene late in 2015 when they released a self-titled EP, which was folk influenced and quirky (the highlight for me being ‘Myrkky’), and by 2018 they had progressed on to their debut EP, also self-titled, by which time their music had developed a far richer, more intense style. Nordic Music Prize nominations followed (I still haven’t predicted the winner since 2015), and new single ‘Auta’ (Help Me) is the 1st single from their forthcoming album, which is due in the summer.
‘Auta’ is a beautiful track, demonstrating another shift in their style of music writing, far less stripped back and minimalist, and far more instrumental support – and in this track at least a relatively fast beat. But each musical contribution is made sparingly, there’s not a wasted sound or note, and the main focus I guess is still on the vocals, this time sitting somewhere between Cocteau Twins and Jónsi.
Backing that up Helmi explains: “We were longing for some rock and rhythm after our first album… I think with this album we were longing for some massive sounds and great feelings…’’.
I’d be pretty surprised if the album really did have ‘massive’ sounds in the style of 'The Spielbergs', but their music has evolved between 2015 and 2018, and they have such a powerful and intense quality already. Who says indie folk or even ethereal music has to be quiet? I'm guessing there will be a cinematic or maybe post rock sound to it, but I really don’t think they’re a band I should be assigning labels to.
The new album '2’ has been put back a little I think from May to July, due to ongoing ‘stuff’. It will be released through ‘GEMS’.