Finnish harmonica quartet Sväng deliver their fifth album, Karja-La, a mix of Finnish folk, Balkan rhythms, and nods to romantic composers like Sibelius and Merikanto. This release, their first for German label Galileo, marks a slight departure from their earlier recordings. Described by the band as a more personal album, they stretch out on Karja-La to explore darker tones on tracks like "Kyytiläinen" and the lonely "Impivaara." Still, they retain their virtuosic playfulness with the dramatic arrangement of "Eksyneen Tango" and the abstract blues of "Naskon Rakija." Always dynamic and inventive, the group continues to breathe new life (pun enthusiastically intended) into an underutilized instrument whose general association to American blues and folk often leaves it seeming one-dimensional. Sväng work hard to prove otherwise.
AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger