Eleanoora Rosenholm

Hyväile Minua Pimeä Tähti

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Starting with a portentous rumble and crash and what could be the sounds of water torture, Hyväile Minua Pimeä Tähti could almost be Wagnerian, at least until Noora Tommila's voice, backed by sprightly percussion, skips into merry view. This sense of giddy darkness as both concept and sonic core beautifully drives the third album by Eleanoora Rosenholm (named after a putative Finnish housewife), "Kolo" settling into something more reminiscent of Isabelle Antena than Zola Jesus, rolling together drumming, bubbling synth bass, clarinet leads, and dark exotica. The sense of sweetly playful fusions, here suggesting a blend of Carl Stalling, Björk, and Sanrio, recurs throughout in various styles and guises, showing Tommila has found a new balance on this album, thanks largely to regular member Mika Rättö and semi-behind-the-scenes collaborator Pasi Salmi. The easy creativity and exploration offered throughout marks each song with its own surprising delight, whether it's delicate acid folk spaciousness, epic spotlight balladeering, or frenetic, nervous drumming and chanting (or on "Puoli Päivää Firenzestä Itään," both, a rolling epic of a song with drum solos and clipped violins, spoken word snippets, and more to fulfill a sort of cinematic goth prog niche). There are space rock synth fanfares and sparkles on "Valo Kaasumeren Hämärässä" (not to mention a stirring male vocal toward the end), what could almost be an end-of-movie stomping ballad from 1988 on "Pimeä Tähti" (right down to the drum fills!), and gentle synth/guitar/drum machine romanticism on "Muistoja Huvilalta." "Sata Ave Mariaa" might be the winner of them all, including everything mentioned above -- plus sweeping strings and reggae -- in a song that's still perfectly cohesive.

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