Jaakko Eino Kalevi
Chaos Magic

(Weird World)


Over a decade on from its Tame Impala-led resurgence and half a century away from its earliest acid-fried antecedents, it’s not easy to carve out a distinctive niche for oneself within the conventional boundaries of psychedelic pop in 2023. It’d be reasonable to expect that the likes of John Lennon, Syd Barrett and latterly Wayne Coyne and Kevin Parker might have exhausted this traditional palette of spacy textures, warbling synths, loping grooves and swooping vocal melodies. Yet Jaakko Eino Kalevi has made a career of taking those familiar aesthetics and producing something that’s unmistakably his own – and Chaos Magic is no exception.


The Finnish artist’s elegant songwriting is foregrounded throughout this record; though the sultry title track which opens the album is instrumental, the sashaying bassline and inquisitive woodwind more than fulfil the lead melodic role in the absence of a vocal; the likes of ‘Drifting Away’, ‘Dino’s Deo’ and ‘Night Walk’ add Kalevi’s voice to stylish effect, his knack for a minimalistic yet efficient hook giving these careening arrangements a welcome focal point. This is admirably intentional, clear-eyed stuff, aware of what it’s trying to do and more than capable of realising the artist’s vision. There are no great surprises here aesthetically, but it’s impressive that despite that relative familiarity, Jaakko Eino Kalevi makes compulsively accessible psych-pop that never quite sounds like it could have been made by anybody else.