The Nordic countries may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of fuzz-drenched psychedelia, but Finland's Kiki Pau look set to do for their homeland's reputation what Sweden's Sabbath-worshipping, kente-cloth-wearing Goat have for theirs.
Kiki Pau aren't quite as doomy as Goat; Pines, the Helsinki band's third album, bears more in common with the mossy languor of Dungen, with woodwinds, hand drums, and guitar twang tracing links between pagan rituals under the midnight sun and Indian ashrams half a world away. The Dungen link isn't coincidental: Dungen's Gustav Ejstes mixed the album, which comes out on February 5 on Beyond Beyond Is Beyond Records, a new label from East Village Radio's Mike Newman.
Album opener "Tomte Mars" gives a good idea of Kiki Pau's deceptively hybrid sound, with bluesy guitar riffs pealing over a sleepwalking bass line, punctuated by mbira and the occasional explosion of harmonica. It feels like a moonlit stroll to the edge of the earth, and it culminates in an unexpectedly vivid chorus: "I want to lay in the grass all night / I want to stay here and stare at the sky / We're so wild." They are indeed, but "wild" has rarely sounded this cozy.