Kauko Röyhkä & Riku Mattila

{mosimage}Kauko Röyhkä, the (somewhat) unsung genius of Finnish rock music, makes an interesting and unexpected career move.

Kauko gets reunited with his old collaborator, guitarist Riku Mattila, who used to play in his band in the beginning of eighties, when both of them were just starting out. Since then, Mattila has played with many other Finnish musicians and become a respected producer, whereas Röyhkä has continued his career as an artist and an author.           

Despite being a good songwriter and one of the best Finnish lyricists ever, Röyhkä has always been a bit uneven artist. However, he has made good records during all the years, and with Mattila, he sounds better than in a long time. Somehow it looks like these two guys can really bring the best out of each other.            

There are plenty of good songs. The album opener Helvetti is surprisingly dark and melancholy for a Kauko Röyhkä track, but it works. Odotetaan kultaista laivaa is a much more positive, relaxed piece with brilliant lyrics and an equally brilliant guitar solo by Mattila. And the album closing epic Välitila shows that nobody can put a short story to music better than Kauko Röyhkä.           

The overall mood of the album is very loose and easy-going, like one could expect – Röyhkä and Mattila have nothing to prove to anybody. That this record has been the biggest commercial success of Kauko Röyhkä’s career is at first surprising, but in the end, it feels very logical. After all, this is a huge artistic success as well. 

Rate: 4/5