Label: Johanna Kustannus Website: Mypsace The Helsinki quartet, Kiki Pau, have returned with their second album, White Mountain. It starts off well, very well indeed, with the brash stomp of ‘An Old Song’ beginning with summery “ooohs” from the singer. From the off, you realise that Kiki Pau are confident of their abilities and the band seem tightly packed as the guitar lines interject with perfect timing. At times, ‘An Old Song’ sounds like something a far more complex Oasis could have written. ‘Just Real’ is a clever, self indulgent moan about lack of money. “We’ll just have to take another loan to pay another loan to get another loan” bemoans singer Henrik Domingo. Kiki Pau could be forgiven for sacrificing clever lyrics such as these for the driving guitar lines, reminiscent of Guided by Voices. But as it turns out, Kiki Pau are perfectly capable of creating songs with crisp guitar lines in the company of a backwash of driving guitar noise, complete with intelligent lyrics. ‘Small Cuts’ begins as something The Fratellis could have written on a very good day, but quickly turns into something bouncing and bright, the verses led by a plonking bass. ‘White Mountain’ is led by the same plonking bass, and the beginning indicates a perhaps unintentional nod to The Beach Boys. Complete with boy band-esque backing vocals, it’s a shame that this song’s running time is only just over a minute. It swiftly moves into more driving guitars that swell to a noisy climax. ‘Divider’ shows that Kiki Pau are far more than boisterous guitars; they can do quieter songs with an odd sort of brash elegance. White Mountain supplements itself very early on as an uplifting and invigorating album; it’s refreshing to hear a band that sound as though they’re having fun with their songs. Sometimes it’s easy to overlook the lyrics, but when you take them into account, you hear wonderfully crafted tales, spun around the intricate guitar work; ‘Quiet Mountain’ in particular. “In the back seat of the taxi, I would take her hand and believe in something because I couldn’t understand.” Kiki Pau write astute lyrics, coupled with perfect melodies and instrumentation. It’s joyful, animated and has a sort of nervous excitement about it. With the exception of ‘Moon Place’, which falls slightly flat compared to the spiky energy of the rest of the album, White Mountains is an incredibly successful invention. Kiki Pau have branched out and created a scrapbook of their influences, slotting them together to construct White Mountains, seemingly Finland’s best kept secret. Photobucket