In Juankoski, the nights are either very, very long. Or very, very short. Right here in the middle of Finland’s vastness, surrounded by a thousand lakes and impenetrable woods, life has an altogether different rhythm. NEØV pick it up, add their heartbeat and carve pure music out of it. Music that bears the magic of Finnish nature and yet resonates with the pulse in the United States, in France, in Germany or in Australia. This unique melange makes NEØV one of the most exciting Indie Pop discoveries Finland has to offer – and their new record “Volant” a true game changer. For Finland, but also for NEØV.
“Two worlds got under our skin when growing up in Juankoski at the turn of this century”, vocalist and songwriter Anssi Neuvonen recalls. “I remember getting lost in the lake when the early morning fog rose, and I also remember growing up with MTV which brought fast-paced international phenomena into our lives. These extremes collide in our music nowadays.” Without a doubt. Their dreamlike Indie sound is floating two feet above ground; as fragile as a shiny bubble and as unfading as an intense dream. True magic, woven by two brothers Anssi and Samuli Neuvonen. “We’re feeling lucky, and we’re proud of each other”, Anssi says. Their modus operandi needs no words, flows effortlessly, intuitively – the key being they were never actually forced to play music. “That wouldn’t have worked! But growing up in our parent’s house which was full of records from Bowie to Progressive Rock to Pink Floyd as well as instruments, it all happened rather naturally.”
Discovering new worlds, that’s what this band is all about for the two brothers. And not only for them: Also Ari Autio, third part of the trio, is eternally aiming for new horizons. After quite some years as a quintet, “Volant” is their first step as a threesome. And a big step it will be. Diverse, layered, fascinating and brim-full with that very special bittersweet aura present in every piece of Eastern Finnish folklore: NEØV are indeed delivering a unique brand of Indie Pop. Precious arrangements, fragile guitar work, enticing loops and beats, echoing piano… a game changer, we said it before and we say it again.
To label NEØV as the Finnish answer to The XX, however, would not do the band any justice at all. Not that there aren’t any parallels in their weightless sound; it’s just that NEØV have long since found their own niche: They already released two acclaimed albums, “Orange Morning” (2013) and “Dominique” (2015), in whose wake the band have been brought to the attention of Q Magazine and Rolling Stone. With “Volant”, the three-piece is impressively stepping up their game, showcasing their matured and admirable song writing craft in the purest, most beautiful form. No doubt: This three-piece is in the position to trigger a hype without the slightest namedropping. That’s because their songs are dazzlingly composed, arranged and performed. And because these three guys are for real. “We just want to dig out our soul and share the outcome with people. The best reward being if someone finds our music meaningful.”
Far more than once, NEØV have been heralded as Finland’s biggest Indie hope. Hence, they took some well-deserved time while creating “Volant”. “It was the longest album process we’ve had so far”, Anssi nods. He wrote and produced the album in his custom-built studio. Then, in 2017, the trio brought their vision called “Volant” to life. They relocated to a cabin in the woods for some time, they even recorded some parts outside. Thus, they created songs that could not be more cinematic, more dreamy, more enthralling. “I believe in the power of melodies”, the front man states, “and I often do traditional song writing with just a guitar or piano.” Later on, this foundation is enriched by layers, multi-faceted details and airy elements that bestow that unique grandeur to their floating sound.
Floating is a good point, anyway: “Volant” is an album dedicated to flying. “Flying requires strong forces behind, but the act itself is effortless”, Anssi muses. “Like a flying object in the sky, a person goes through different views and conditions in life. And once in a while, it means going through storms, or leaving something beautiful behind just to see the light of a new era.” Songs about the passing of time, about relationships, friendship, brotherhood, love, delusions, self-deception, guilt, mistakes, hope, dreams or finding the beauty in small things: NEØV tell the little big tales in which we are all one. “Maybe I am doing that more melancholic than most”, he smiles. “But I do my best to go towards hope.” And rightly so: Only because life is absurd, he says, it doesn’t mean it’s not also beautiful. “I would even go as far as to say life is beautiful because it’s absurd. And in the middle of this absurd world, maybe the best thing to do is live without trying to control things one cannot control.” Well said. “Volant” helps letting go. A lot.