A bubbling cauldron of avantgarde rock, psychedelic jazz, art pop and echoes of the 1980s ”no wave” weirdness, KUU! references a vast amount of influences yet still manages to project a firm and original identity. The ghost of Frank Zappa has loomed over bandleader, guitarist and composer Kalle Kalima’s work in the past as well, but this offering is perhaps the most immediate manifestation of the trailblazer’s spirit in the Finnish music maker’s oeuvre.
The other element helping KUU! maintain its own sound is Jelena Kuljić’s vocals. With a strong background in music theater, the Serbian-born singer moves across styles with ease simultaneously providing the adhesive that holds the structure together. Joining the twosome on this venture are two Germans, guitarist Frank Möbus and drummer Christian Lillinger.
For better and for worse, KUU! (Finnish for MOON!) is a product of both the times and their hometown of Berlin. Manifested best on tracks like About Death, We Watch Then Fall and Lampedusa Lullaby, the album makes a vivid and at times harrowing statement about the state of Europe and the entire world now. Berlin, on the other hand, is embedded in the free-for-all, liberal and multicultural DNA of the band and the music. Fans of Heiner Goebbels and Nina Hagen alike will find KUU! oddly fresh and familiar at the same time.
KUU!: Lampedusa Lullaby
Jelena Kuljić, vocals
Kalle Kalima, guitar
Frank Möbus, guitar
Christian Lillinger, drums
ACT Music 2018