Jan Anderzén's work as Kemialliset Ystävät has always been a cut above in terms of the swirling reinvention of what it means to be a rock band, but Ullakkopalo may be one of the best expressions of that aesthetic. The frenetic collage of percussion and loops that defines the work of the band -- always balanced with a sense of shaping a central melody of sorts, sometimes subliminally so but never absent -- remains engagingly intact, though arguably, Anderzen, working on his own for this disc, has never sounded so much like a completely bizarre version of Tones on Tail's already insane "Slender Fungus" as he does at various points on here. "Kivikasan Rauhassa"'s buried vocal chanting and the deep squall of acid guitar are surrounded by a kaleidoscopic swirl of percussion, while the beautiful feedback tones overlaid near the end of "Palava Puolokka" are also head-spinning in their impact. The demented elfin impact of songs like "Nitty Veden Alla," with its flutes and old-times percussion, and the Ummagumma Pink Floyd galumph and weirdness of "Maksaruhoja" further define the carefully presented insanity of Ullakkopalo, something that can't be a real surprise given the band's unusual ways over the years, but is still a clear reminder that they're uniquely themselves, dedicated to sonic landscapes that feel like candy-colored acid marshmallows. Relatively shorter and simpler tracks like "Suosikkiorjalleni" are just that -- relatively simpler, given their still-complex overlays of even just a couple of elements creating something that feels like a spinning top about to topple into chaos but retaining its balance nonetheless. Credit as well to the various voices on "A la Koske Lintuja" for essentially posing the idea of what a Disney fantasy short crossed with a distorted Daffy Duck would have sounded like, only with music that might have given Carl Stalling nightmares.
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AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett