Solina Records/Shelflife Records
Burning Hearts' second full-length "Extinctions" is a treat. Delving into description disguised as heavy-handed metaphor would be a disservice to such a carefully crafted, thoughtful album, so I'll simple start with a hearty "wow." (It's worth noting the decision to forgo poetics was made after several spins marked by hand flailing and randomly squealed superlatives)
Yeah. It's good.
Other than injecting a note of mystery to their otherwise light-as-air pop confections -- perfected with the debut, "Aboa sleeping" -- very little has changed since the last time we met the Finnish quintet. Not that anything needed altering. The band has created another charming outing that leans just as much on French pop as Scandinavian melancholy, its nine tracks (including "The swallows" and "Into the wilderness" which first hit ears with last year's excellent "Into the wilderness" EP) splitting the difference between wistful refrains and modern synths. The album benefits heartily from vocalist Jessika Rapo's latter-day Nico delivery, but nowhere does it hit such heights as on "Love and dissonance", the soaring line, "Beautiful, beautiful sing me a song the way you used to do," rendered downright beatic in her melodic whisper. On "The best" her languid call hopscotches over the band's near near-folk instrumentation, complete with steel drum backing. But perhaps most surprising is "The swallows", where their formula of gentle instrumentation is turned on its head in favor of 1980s synths, with Rappo as a slow-motion dancing queen. Sure, their music is still sweet, but "Extinctions" -- in all its subtle variations -- only servers to demonstrate that Burning Hearts should be considered pop heavy weights.
- Laura Studarus