RIYL = Paavoharju, Black Dice, Prefuse 73
What can I say; listening to Kemialliset Ystävät makes no logical sense. Ullakkopalo is the latest in a long history of deranged freak-psych adventures from the band and it delivers with similarly delighted, confusing, and totally bizarre results. Based on my recent streak of surreal (anti)reviews, you might’ve thought Kemialliset Ystävät would be the perfect band to send me off into some ridiculous, fabulist mind-trip. Yet, somehow Ullakkopalo has cancelled out any type of coherent imagining in me. The record works to disassemble thought, to confound, to set low one’s sense of cognitive stability. It’s madness, it’s noise, but a pleasant (if ultimately disturbed) madness, and noise music for lovers. Though I’m not sure what that all really means. I guess all I’m saying is that you can listen to the noise-madness on Ullakkopalo and still have a chance at getting away with your soul (though the gypsy maids may have scrubbed it weird in the process). Ullakkopalo, in comparison to their recent tour-only Harmaa Laguuni and last "official" full length in 2007 (their self-titled masterpiece), feels a bit more free-wheeling, a bit more collision-heavy (and what is Kemialliset Ystävät’s music but a series of collisions?), which may make it slightly more difficult, but honestly, who can tell what any one person will take from listening to these Scandinavian weirdoes? It’s anyone’s guess whether or not you’ll still be using ears for hearing, eyes for seeing or feet for walking after the experience. Once Ullakkopalo is through with you, you’ll be lucky if you don’t have an extra set of arms (unless, of course, you’re into that kinda thing). Happy listening.