Absoluuttinen Nollapiste

Iiris

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Absoluuttinen Nollapiste ("Absolute Zero") has carved itself a surprisingly popular niche with its skewed brand of pop. The primary force up until now has been the main songwriter/vocalist Tommi Liimatta, but when it was revealed that he had taken a backseat for this album the expectations for the record plummeted. Was this going to be their Mardi Gras, with Liimatta taking the John Fogerty role? It's a happy surprise that this is not the case. On iiris, the song structures take a slightly more linear path, the sound draws inspiration from the plastic '80s with some irony, but the group still shuffle the deck with offbeat tonal shifts, buzzing guitars, and an occasional disco-beat or heavy metal riff. Songs like the single release "Lumous, Menit Sitten Haihtumaan" ("Enchantment, You Disappeared Then") manage to combine all their best elements to pop perfection, and suddenly they move from being difficult art pop to smart and engaging rock. The juxtaposition of simple riffs and almost childish melodies with their sharp lyrics and complicated but accessible structures succeeds brilliantly for the most part. Liimatta still provides most of the lyrics and his distinctive delivery remains, though his somewhat flat voice is the weakest link in the band. Luckily, they know this, and often the backing vocals help carry Liimatta over the roughest spots. When he speak-sings his parts like on "V Niin Kuin Verkosto," ("'N' as in Network") the sound jells harmoniously. The fact that not every song works for each listener is to be expected with such a diverse album, and one's enjoyment of the finished product depends on your tolerance of Liimatta's vocals and the pervasive sounds of past technology, as it's hard to fault either their superb ability to write songs and then impeccably perform them.

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