The Walter Metsärinne EP (Finland) - ‘Never In Control’ (Album)
I repeat the same phrase so many times, but Tim Smith was right, it really is ‘all about the tunes’. And Finnish multi-instrumentalist The Walter Metsärinne EP has written an album with 10 likeable and often charming indie songs which are packed full of ‘them tunes’, and the result is a really enjoyable release that I’d recommend to anyone.
We haven’t featured him previously, although he has released solo material, notably through a self titled EP in 2019. Why exactly he still names himself after that EP on debut album ‘Never in Control’ I’m not sure, but I guess it’s the type of curiosity that makes him that little bit different.
Writing about the album he says “Never In Control’ is fundamentally about not giving up. I enjoy listening to melancholic music and I make melancholic music. It comforts me and helps me access my sad feelings and deal with them. That doesn’t mean my songs are all sad, there’s always hope.”
They’re certainly not sad at all. And he opens as he means to go on with ‘Last Words’ (For Now)’, no intro, just straight into a catchy melody, and just when you might think the track could be a little two dimensional, he launches into a thumping instrumental section that propels it forward again.
’Mark' is similarly easy listening even if it doesn't quite appeal to me as much as the opener, whilst 'Limes Love' does head into Indie melancholia, accompanied by retro synths but still opens up attractively, slightly building in intensity in the instrumental section - there's maybe even a hint of fellow Finnish indie songwriter Matti Jasu, who we've featured a few times in NMR.
Eleonara Smith’ opens brightly before descending into a pretty sounding sad place, but the chorus is almost euphorically optimistic, and the lyrics really pack a punch too. If I had to pick one track then I think 'Starfish' is probably my highlight, simply really good songwriting for me with another big tune, it has an almost ‘classic’ indie feel to it. ‘Allright’ however is almost typically Metsärinne, holding back a little before blossoming out to another quite lovely chorus, and this is definitely a track that fits into the premise of his album, that things might be sad in the world, but there’s a bright light somewhere ahead.
It might be my imagination, but the album does appear to get more reflective as you get deeper into it, and that’s the case with ‘The Friend’ and ‘Time to Kill’, although it’s the former that I think works best, thanks to a powerful swell in instrumentals, and emotional vocals. I’d actually like to hear an even bigger instrumental sound at times, but of course as regular readers know, I do have a horrible habit of wanting every album to sound like a post rock release.
The album concludes with ‘Wandering to Wonderland’, which might sound slightly corny in terms of a title, but has a soft warmth to it that makes it irresistible as an album ending.
Like many artists releasing a truly independent album, it does sound like ‘Never in Control’ has been an obsession for Walter Metsärinne. I’m sure he’s had plenty of self doubts too. But he really shouldn’t have worried, this is really up with the best indie releases we’ve featured in NMR and of course the reason is simple. He can write tunes, and bloody good ones too.
Nordic Music Review 8/10