22-PISTEPIRKKO (Buy CDs by this artist)
The Kings of Hong Kong (Fin. Pygmi) 1987
Bare Bone Nest (UK Spirit/Sonet) 1990
Debuting with a 1985 single, this trio from Finland ("22- ladybug") took American country, blues and psychedelia as leaping-off points to much stranger experimentation. The first album is mostly infectious garage pop powered by a roller-rink Farfisa organ, except for "Don't Try to Tease Me," which re-imagines Hank Williams with a weird accent and bizarre production values. Frontman P.K. Keränen sings bad English in one of the most endearingly odd voices this side of Daniel Johnston.
Bare Bone Nest finds the band moving into surreal fractured-blues territory where Giant Sand and Captain Beefheart might be neighbors. "Shot Bayou" is a haunting nocturne with a slide guitar and waves breaking on a beach; "Round Table Blues" layers traffic sounds, tablas and a sampled Armenian duduk over an acoustic Bo Diddley jangle before segueing into a dusty Texas two-step; if that's not enough, the closing track is an extended feedback opera that purports to tell a birds-versus- bulldozers environmental story. Intoxicating and well worth seeking out.[Wif Stenger]
All contents copyright 2007 Trouser Press LLC