Album Reviews

Friend Of God From The Oberland: II

With their latest release, the Finnish duo are one of the fine discoveries of 2022.

Friend Of God From The Oberland is the side project of Juho Toivonen and Pasi Slami. Member of and collaborator for Finnish psych outfit, Vahvistusharha.

While Vahvistusharha explored the darker terrains of psych, welding together brooding minimalism and the more technical aspects of post-rock and drone, with II, Friend Of God From The Oberland’s latest release and follow-up to 2020’s Lands​/​Maat, Toivonen and Slami create something more textual, less buried in the mix and immediate to the senses.

Aidan Baker: You Are All At Once

Appearing through the white voids of heaven, opening cut, Toisto, is one of the most gentle representations of psychedelia you’re likely to hold an ear to all year. With warm ripples of feedback and equally tame percussion, it’s one of those moments where, no matter where you are, everything just fits.

With Avaruudessa and Jaatomma, we encounter the frontiers of the white void, where Toivonen and Slami shower us with a series of wistful, eerie choral chants.

Friend Of God From The Oberland - II

On Modernity is beyond that. Featuring Charlotte Laiho on vocals, On Modernity is an earthy composition that boasts scrupulous virtuoso and a rich sonic vernacular. It’s where psychedelia and the world of deep-listening meets.

Meanwhile, with Puuttostila, Friend Of God From The Oberland darken the shades with stalking synths and piano minimalism, conjuring up the kind of scenes one would feel when walking through a blistering cold winter night.

End Now: Half Live

As II draws to an end, Friend Of God From The Oberland envelope us with more heavenscapes in the way of Kaukamaa and the closer, Nälkämaa. Spacious hymnal passages of sound that gently guide beyond the frontiers and back into the belly of that white void.

In many ways, II is a record everyone needs in their collection. Capturing so many moods that hold significant emotional weight, this is one of the most atmospheric and heartfelt releases under the Cruel Nature stable so far. Not only is it the kind of record that binds together the whole concept of the label; arguably, it illuminates the concepts of art itself. No mean feat, but true nonetheless.

II is out now via Cruel Nature Records. Purchase from Bandcamp.

By Simon Kirk

Product from the happy generation. Proud purple bin owner surviving on music, books and LFC. New book, Welcome To Charmsville, available from all major vendors.

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