Sammal got complaints about their EP from reviewers. Apparently the lyrics where not very understandable. That is not highly surprising in the least, since everything is Finnish and typical at that, it almost sounds like a record that could be played at the local fair in Turku at times. That is judging the record too lowly though, since these Finnish progrockers have embraced the classic sound in a way that feels hardly outdated and pleasantly simple without ever being simple.
Alright, I’ll get to the music instead of rambling on about that. The main ingredient for this five piece seems to be the Hammond organ. This forms the main component of opening track ‘Vankina Varisten‘. For those that object to its utterly Finnish lyrics, that means ‘Captured By Crows‘, although we have to trust Sammal for that. My Finnish is limited to swearing words and electronic brands. Musically the song picks up a funky stride, bringing up memories of Deep Purple’s early days or maybe the work of the Doors keyboard player Ray Manzarek. With ‘Peilin Taikaa‘ that period is emphasized even more, since this is a cover of Aphrodite’s Childs’ ‘Magic Mirror‘, the Greek prog band featuring Demis Roussos a lifetime ago. Their version stays close to the original, adding a bit of Nordic grit to it.
‘Neito Maan‘ (Maiden Of The Land) continues that path, but is a bit more funk driven. Paying tribute to the likes of Camel and Focus, with widely spun out melodies that promise a wide landscape of sound, this feels so relaxed and comfortable. The vocals feel a bit off again, adding to that funny feeling this band evokes. Wanting to sound Finnish in their own way, the band definitely adds a Nordic touch to their work. In general they sound like they went back to the sixties to record with modern equipment. The whole production is crisp, but the music is simple, like back in the day. ‘Tuuli Kuljettaa‘ (Borne By The Winds) has that folky feeling intro part, before a series of John Lord-esque salvo’s of organ launch the song into an energetic and fun blaze of sound.
‘Tähdelle Kuolemaan‘ (Death Within A Star) is the final song of the EP and closes in a calm, poppy and melancholic way. The lyrics are, like on the rest of the record, quite poetic in the translation. The song feels mellow, self-assured and like it’s been lost in time.
It’s noteworthy that apart from the cover song, the tracks on ‘No. 2‘ are old demo songs. Back from when the band were young and free of worries. That makes it a stand-alone release and explains its light heartedness. Still a worthy purchase for those who have been a bit lost in time themselves. The Finnish language is only an obstacle, if you see the lyrics as an obstacle. To me it definitely gives its own charm to the sound of Sammal.
Scribed by: Guido Segers