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Eldanka — Joldanka Patrol
(Bandcamp ELRCRD2201, 2022, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-06-30

Joldanka Patrol Cover art

When one considers the sport of surfing, what comes to mind most often are beautiful warm water vacation spots like Hawaii (where it all began), Southern California, Virginia, North Carolina, and so on, places where a wetsuit is clearly not a requirement. Fortunately for the genre of instrumental rock that surfing ushered in, courtesy of The Ventures and many others like them, a warm water climate is not a requirement, and surf-rock probably exists in some form in every country and continent on the planet. The quartet at hand, Eldanka, hails from Finland, led by lead guitarist and primary composer Mika Jämsä, who also led the band on two earlier albums, Twangin’ Tritones (2010) and their most recent Rusty Treasures (2018), which we reviewed in these pages. Jämsä is joined by rhythm guitarist Rasmus Tammik, bassist Mauri Haapamäki, and drummer Janne Torvikoski, the same lineup since their 2018 album. They call what they do ‘Rautalanka music,’ a clean sound steeped in early 60s tradition, twangy and echoey; and one won’t fail to notice the album cover, featuring four surfers riding a killer wave and a saguaro cactus from the California desert. With all of that said and unsaid, there’s a lot more going on here than just straight-up surf instrumentals, their compositions are often informed by Spanish grooves, western and spy movie themes, classical sounds, and Scandinavian folk music — they clearly have their own style within the much larger genre. Joldanka Patrol opens with the three-and-a-half minute “Descanso,” a powerful initial statement that beautifully combines Western and Spanish themes into the overall surf-rock idiom. Similarly, “Cosy Mementos” smoothly integrates a seemingly Scandinavian folk theme into their early-60s soundworld. There are two cover tunes among the album’s twelve tracks: the first is “L.A.Streethawk” an excerpt from Tangerine Dream’s Le Parc, the next is “The Bog,” an adaptation of a portion of “Cantus Articus” by Finnish classical composer Einojuhani Rautavaara. There’s clearly a surfin’ groove underscoring the title track, where Jämsä turns in some incredibly powerful solos, and the approprately titled “Outlander” brings forth their most effective western themed soundtrack piece. Every number on Joldanka Patrol is an essential slab of the finest modern retro-instrumental guitar rock you’re likely to find anywhere.

Filed under: New releases, 2022 releases

Related artist(s): Eldanka

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