22 Pistepirrko, Eleven (Clearspot) CD

If you go to a small town called Rovaniemi, just inside the Arctic Circle, Noth Finland, you will encounter a tiny ranch and a few reindeer. Step inside---at any time of the year---and you will find Father Christmas, he will speak at least 5 languages and will sell you a photo of yourself and him for about 10 quid. If you ask him how come there seem to be loads of him about during December he'll cleverly fence, muttering about "special helpers" and "magic" before turning the conversation around to how he was on "Pole to Pole" with Michael Palin or something.

The Finns do not think that a smooth-talking, slippery, year-round Santa located miles from anywhere is remotely strange. Which explains a lot about this new one from 22 Pistepirrko, a band---like the Evil Superstars---able to suspend both disbelief and credulity for 45 minutes as they take the basic building blocks of recent popular music and mash them together in ways any sane person would cringe at, somehow making the resulting sound exceedingly palatable. We're talking bits of trip hop, rock, Manfred Mann, disco, Bob Dylan, drum'n'bass---and much more---not only on the same record, but in the same song. It's like listening to 15 minutes of Peel condensed into 3 minutes of song, eleven times. Brilliant.

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