Various Psychedelic Phinland: Finnish Hippie & Underground Music 1967-1974

It would seem appropriate to begin this comp from seminal Finnish Love Records with a song from one of the country’s most successful early rock bands, the Topmost, but their track limps by with some lethargic spoken word. "But the end is just the beginning” states intro piece "The End,” introducing a release that has peaked interest amongst psych enthusiasts — Finland being a country lesser known for its psychedelia than its Scandinavian neighbours. The freaky intro fortunately distracts from the next few songs, which from a historical perspective make sense, like the Hector & Oscar inclusion (they were the first Finns to sing about marijuana on a pop record), but are awkward and don’t fit into this otherwise pleasing experimental psych rock release. At least three tracks vary from tasteless crooning to curious polka-style pop. However, it is the post-Pebbles era strength of Wigwam, the Sam Gopal-like Charlies and the excellent Apollo (staples of Finnish hard rock, with a heavy northern European sound reminiscent of Holland’s Group 1850) that make it all worthwhile. Admittedly it’s easy to use Brits, Dutch and Americans as templates to compare their international counterparts, as they have dominated the psychedelic reissue landscape and originally influenced the artists included here, but this comp has an artful melancholy that is typically Finnish (like the Sperm’s nightmare-inspired "Heinäsirkat I” or Sikiöt’s art school collective contributions). Two CDs divide the vastly different sounds: straight ahead psych rock and experimental drone psych. Psych fans will be pleased with most of these tracks and collectors will enjoy the historical significance, obscure archival recordings and ample Love label liner notes.

(Love, lovemusic.fi) (Love)