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Radio Khartoum

various artists CD

Cessna CD coverSometimes I think I’m just as obsessed with Scandinavian indie music I am with the antipodean variety. 'Terminus' is Finnish popsters Cessna's first release in four years, their third for Radio Khartoum. It was two years in the making and well worth the wait. In a little over half an hour, they sneak in surprising sounds and textures, and their affection for analogue synthesizers.

Encore Toujours features a deep silky male French voice talking and crooning phrases that aren’t nonsensical, until he starts professing his love, conjugating the verb in as many different tenses as he can, which makes it all very charming.

What You Wanna Say has nice harmonies and gentle but steady pacing. The guitars are in the background behind the percussion and bass and a pervasive synth sound that reminds me of hooters (the small keyboards played liked a recorder). The uncertainty of finding the right one is sweet as he asks…are you going to be the one that I take home when I grow old… and wins me over.

Book is willfully low fi to great effect with its fuzzy bass and guitars. The deeper singing takes me back to the Bartlebees brilliant cover of the Patrick Fitzgerald chestnut Safety Pin Stuck In My Heart For You, but the breathless doubled over melody singing lightens it up. The humor comes through with the toot toot of the recorder and the lyrics…I see you stare with your book in my hand... I use it ‘cos it makes my life nicer

Wide Awake is slower and has some nice percussion flourishes. Their sense of timing works well here. The brush drums here start out gently enough and the sound builds up around the verses until everything pulls back for the chorus…Wide awake I don’t want to say it…Wide awake I go to sleep… The vintage synthesizers finish it off nicely with a late 60s sound.

Time Ticks Away starts out with analogue synthesizers and programmed drums, that give it an 80s flavor as the guitars come in. The synthesizer parts between the verses sound like they came from a science fiction film,

At first, This Will End In Tears will make you want to shout out Tequila! No sooner does it give way to dreamy echoing vocals …No I don’t wish to go into detail about it…but I’ve seen this all before… There’s a wild 60s wig out bridge with some cool keyboard parts mixed in with the guitars and they are whooping it up…Hate to say I told you so

It’s About Time continues the 60s feel with lots of tambourine and doot doot doos. It also sounds like it’s been hidden in a vault for a few decades. The lyrics have a sixties theme that might have a little 21st century irony or not…It’s about time (doot doot doo) to let the sunshine in…but it’s fun trying to guess.

Like I Love You has vocals that sound like they were recorded over the phone. The effect is like a one sided overseas call from someone who forgot about the time difference and the indifference, but still pines. The spooky synthesizers add lots of atmospherics as the search for reassurance goes on …Do you still love me…of course you do

It bleeds into the next track and instrumental. Paasikiven-Kekkosentie that has eerie recorder noises that sound like whales. The steady rhythm keeps it moving along enough to hold your attention.

Kauttua is a more straightforward instrumental with synthesizer noises that go back and forth between sounding like a kinetic sculpture and rain.

Moving On with its brush drumming comes back down to earth and is reflective. The doot doot doot doos here sound like they came from this decade…Finally I’m moving on…it looks as if yesterday won’t mean much tomorrow. Other percussion elements egg shaker, sleigh bells and cymbal flourishes are gradually added as the song builds up. The guitar sounds vintage as the song peaks with a synthesizer or Theremin that gives the ending a space ship taking off effect before bleeding into the closing, untitled instrumental with haunting piano and disconcerting static.

Favorite Tracks: 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 14

---Tina Glyptis, February 17, 2004