Leonard Cohen, Spiritualized
" The multi-talented visionnaire of Finnish indie rock. "
Singer-songwriter-producer Mikko Joensuu clearly belongs to the generation of new Finnish musicians who are bold and open-minded, but even among them, he is unique. These days, it really seems like his musical expression knows no bounds.
Joensuu cut his teeth in the band Joensuu 1685 whose sole album, a self-titled release from 2008, received critical acclaim in the Finnish music media. In recent years, he has been concentrating on his solo work, and with magnificent results, to say the least. Now, his work presents us a rare combination of talent and vision.
Joensuu’s so-called Amen trilogy (albums Amen 1, Amen 2 and Amen 3, released in half a year intervals in 2016 and 2017) is quite a triumph. It shows us that the musician is equally comfortable with piano-driven folk ballads, electric rock anthems and ambient soundscapes. His songs, which are often very long and still not the least bit boring, have made him a hugely respected and revered figure among many an indie rock fan. He even received the prestigious Teosto Prize, awarded by the leading Finnish copyright organization Teosto for commendable musicians.
It is interesting to note that the mood on the Amen albums is almost devout, almost spiritual, while, lyrically, the trilogy is intensely personal. It revolves around the artist’s, who grew up in a Pentecostal environment, abandonment of faith. Maybe because of this, Mikko Joensuu’s music feels at the same time emotional, serene and strangely liberating. Darkness and light have rarely found this inspiring union in music.