There are many symptoms, traits and reasons why we are forced to think that, after three studio albums signed under their own name, there are not many artists today like the Finn Jaakko Eino Kalevi. His decadent rhythms, somewhere between pastel color and spicy cigarette smoke, are now reaffirmed with his new and most recent sonic audacity titled “Chaos Magic” (Domino, 23): thirteen songs with which the artist manages to transport us to a remote (and sometimes lysergic) landscape of kitsch melodies that collect with some success the tropes and vestiges of tacky glamor and the sound of the eighties and seventies.
Inspired by his time living in Greece and the abyss that separates Earth from heaven, Kalevi puts together a songbook that, clearly, from its beginning asks us to imagine ourselves inside a carpeted nightclub, wearing wide-lapel shirts. and tasting a pretentious cocktail in a martini glass. Its homonymous and instrumental opening theme serves precisely as a prelude to our arrival in sequence at this particular nightclub, where its caramelized and torrid jazzy and almost tropical rhythms accompany our firm step between the stupor of the crowd and the curious glances. As soon as we stop and reach the exact spot on the track where we wanted to plant our flag, the cadences become more playful and synthetic, forcing us to succumb unopposed to the flourishes and pop immediacy of the chorus of “Drifting Away” and the alien and Hellenic lines of “Dino’s Deo” (Did you miss being able to listen to the canceled John Maus and Ariel Pink without a guilty conscience? Here’s the substitute you were waiting for.)
The nocturnality and treachery of “Chaos Magic” is confirmed and begins to combine collectively with “Hell & Heaven”, the track that Kalevi signs with the fraternal duo Faux Real and with which he takes us into his most theological diatribes about good and evil, while referring to a kind of ABBA meets Sparks in a delicious and imperial way, then giving it the I replace the darkwave segment of the album. One with which the artist paints between catchy synth pieces (“Nightwalk”) and echoes of gothic pop (“Palace In My Head”along with Alma Jodorowsky) the pantone of a closed night that even in its lowest hours is capable of unleashing our hidden passions with a stroke of cybernetic funk (“L’horizon”), hymno techno (“Galactic Romance”with Yu-Ching Huang between lightning by Giorgio Moroder), and novelistic melancholy (“I Forget”).
After such a hustle and bustle, in which we have sweated a lot and worn out our dancing shoes under the mirror ball, there is the pertinent retreat and return home that the Finn is pleased to implement with a cosmic cut of no less than thirteen minutes , aptly titled “Let’s See How Things Go”. A brilliant resource with an ascending structure that shepherds us between progressive cadences, choirs that border on mantra, baroque atmospheres and sax melodies that end up being diluted little by little by the sink of that party that joins with the day. Underrated and showing off his timid sense of ambition, we surely won’t end up seeing the new album by Jaakko Eino Kalevi on no list of highlights of the year, but it is clear that the Finn has given us his most complete work to date and a very delightful journey into the depths, pleasures and unpleasantness of the fantasy that the night has.