Monday, 22nd January 2018. 5:30:00am ET


Artist: Paatos
CD Title: Kallocain
Label: InsideOut Music
Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Date: 8/24/04

Hailing from Sweden, Paatos has something of an interesting history that includes a live film festival performance of an original score to the classic film Nosferatu. On their second album, Kallocain, the band have created something that is perhaps even more interesting than their history, or, at the very least, an album that more than justifies any hype the band's history may have created. Their blend of electronic and organic elements allows for a fairly versatile lineup capable of creating everything from moody electronic-based trip-hop to organic experimental rock to airy late night lounge rock to sparse, moody cello/violin passages. The prominent comparisons between vocalist Petronella Nettermalm, Bjork, and Portishead's Beth Gibbons are certainly founded; her voice often combines the melodic tendencies of the former with a timbre somewhat akin to the latter. The performances are remarkably tight and emotive, and the album is extremely well produced without sounding over-polished, with even its more electronic offerings taking on a rich organic tone.

At times borrowing a page from Radiohead's book of rhythmic experimental guitar rock (as is most evident on "Gasoline"), at other times entering close-approximation-of-Portishead territory (the eerie bass-driven trip-hop and moody wobbly synth work of "Reality"), Kallocain offers exceptional stylistic diversity without sacrificing consistency. Every single one of the disc's nine tracks is both outstanding and interesting, from the brilliantly titled moody bass-anchored electronic standout "Absinth Minded" to the slightly jazzy late night ethereal jam rock of "Won't Be Coming Back". Even the album's lightest, most straightforward offering, the mellow acoustic guitar based rock number "Look at Us", is hardly bland. Nettermalm's lyrics are outwardly simple and straightforward yet often exceptionally deep and intelligent, from the excellent "Look at Us" ("If we continue to do what we've always done, we will continue to get what we've always got") to the examination of perspectives and personal realities found on "Reality".

Paatos' Kallocain is, in a word or two, simply stunning. Full of experimentation and diversity without ever sounding pretentious, it's probably one of the more interesting offerings to come out of Sweden in the last year or two; an album that, while perhaps slightly less accessible, certainly rivals much of the recent output of the major label artists to which it is being compared. With a wide stylistic range that will likely appeal to fans of modern experimental alternative rock, moody trip-hop, goth rock, classic rock, lounge rock/jazz, and moody ethereal rock, Kallocain is a brilliant album that's not to be missed!

 

Paatos website: www.paatos.com

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