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Burning Hearts

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Album Review

Recorded in the Finnish countryside of Ostrobothnia, Burning Hearts' second album is a (slightly) darker and colder proposition than the excellent debut Aboa Sleeping. The duo of Jessika Rapo and Henry Ojala was never a laugh riot by any means, there was a depth of feeling on Aboa that wasn't hidden very far below the enchanting melodies, Rapo's warm vocal harmonies, and the often sprightly tempos. On Extinctions, the duo don't do quite as much to hide the icy melancholy. The time period they spent writing songs was colored by loss and death, and a tangible sadness pervades the album. Especially in the lyrics, but also on the tracks like "Love and Dissonance" and "Burn Burn Burn" that sound less indebted to '80s synth pop, and more influenced by snowy folk and Felt-inspired post-punk respectively. Despite the heaviness in the words, the bulk of the album's music is surprisingly sunny and bright; full of lightly jangling guitars, smooth toned synths, and Rapo's wonderfully sweet vocals (she truly can sing the saddest words and make them go down like a spoonful of sugar) with quite a few songs approaching bouncy on the rhythmic spectrum. It's a lovely sound that makes the already melodically strong and emotionally powerful songs even stronger and more powerful. Lead single "Into the Wilderness" is the kind of loping, spooky tune that any band from New Order on would have been glad to have written; it has a huge hook in the chorus and a truly haunting melody. The rest of the songs aren't far behind, and as a whole, Extinctions is the kind of album that wraps itself around you like a heavy blanket on a chilled winter night, full of comfort and protection against the cold world.


Formed: 2004 in Finland

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Finnish indie pop stalwarts Jessika Rapo (vocalist for Le Futur Pompiste) and Henry Ojala (drummer for Cats on Fire) teamed up to form the shambly, synthy duo Burning Hearts in 2004. Sounding something like a warm, wispy mix of Le Futur Pompiste and Cats on Fire, Burning Hearts fit right in with Shelflife Records' early-2000s roster, which at that point included the likes of Days, the Ruling Class, and the Radio Dept. Burning Hearts' debut full-length, Aboa Sleeping, was released on Shelflife in...
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Extinctions, Burning Hearts
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