The easy way to review this would be to just say it’s too long and a bit boring. In the midst of massive amounts of schoolwork and life issues, that would be something I would love to do. But, I already haven’t done a review in a few days, and the last two weren’t even really solid reviews anyway. So I might as well give this thing a full go.
Yes, overall Värähtelijä is a bit too long, and a bit boring at times. But the issue is much more complex than that, because there are plenty of amazing moments in this album, and despite my so far superficial criticisms, I liked this album. I was immediately drawn in by the hypnotizing riffs that felt like a clock swaying back and forth across my eyes, drifting me into a state of unconsciousness. Then the keyboard organ flew into my sight, caressing my ears with a psychedelic flair. I felt like I was in some sort of 60s satanic ritual, perhaps part of one of Levay’s if he gave everyone acid. The atmosphere was incredible, however at this point I started to get a bit TOO mesmerized. To but bluntly, I was annoyed. Annoyed that that damn riff kept playing in the background. And here is where I came upon the main problem of this album. It’s just so damn monotonous.
Oranssi Pazuzu has a lot of great ideas here. Every track is based around an idea that on it’s own, could spawn a billion different variations, twists, and turns. However the only track that ever really goes into that is the 5th track, Vasemman käden hierarkia, and that’s because A. It’s the longest track in the album by far, clocking in at 17+ minutes, and B. it’s basically split into two separate sections, meaning there’s two real ideas going on here. The major problem with every track on Värähtelijä is that they ARE only based on one real idea, and never really change in timbre at all. I get that songs need a backbone, something to base all of the other ideas off of. But you can’t just go totally off backbone alone. If you’re going to make tracks that are this long, you need variety, simple as that. And while there certainly is a variety of different instruments and quirks, there color of the song stays consistent throughout the entire length of the track. It’s like how you can’t win a baseball game without getting past first base. You need to touch the other bases, then come home.
In related sports metaphors, you also can’t win a football without reaching the endzone, which every track on the album fails to do. There never is a conclusion to any of the tracks, or any kind of finality at all in this album. There’s always so much buildup that never goes anywhere, or ever reaches a climax, with the exception of on the middle of 5th track. Now you can argue that that’s intentional, forcing the listener to feel uneasy and unsafe. That’s fair, because this album absolutely succeeds in doing so. But it also leaves me feeling unsatisfied and at times, very annoyed. In particular, on the 6th track, Havuluu, there was a riff that is just incredulously repeated over and over and over again. It’s clearly an intentional act meant to cause this previously stated sense of uneasiness. But people have feelings and limitations, so no matter how much artistic merit something has, if I don’t want to hear it, it’s not going to work on me. I actually go so turned off by that track that the final song basically just went right over my head. Part of that was that I had already been listening to this for an hour, and the other was that the final track isn’t that memorable in the first place. It felt so damn neutral, like I was trapped in purgatory, without any of the horror that entails.
Now despite me taking a big old shit on this album, I’m actually going to give this a recommended seal. Because I can complain and nitpick like a douchebag all I want, it will never change that at its core, this album sounds really cool. Like, REALLY fucking cool. I can honestly say I’ve never heard any album remotely similar to this in terms of style and sound. While that alone isn’t a reason to love something, I feel like despite its flaws, Oranssi executes this unique blend of seemingly unrelated genres well enough to earn my overall enjoyment in listening.
As a story, Värähtelijä preforms poorly, reading like a dadaist novel made by someone who doesn’t actually know what dadaism is. There’s no real plotline, no real structure, and no real ending at all. It’s more like strange words on a page that seem to make sense together, but don’t form anything coherent as a whole. On top of that it seems like every chapter seems to repeat one word in particular way more than any of the other words for no real describable reason, other than to force a main theme. The story ends with a sentence that seems to belong in the middle of the book, leaving the reader confused and unsure of what they just read.
But as a soundtrack to a spooky underground art film, destined to be circulated throughout the gallows of the internet until it’s ultimately ruined my memes? I’d be down for that.