Koria Kitten Riot are a Helsinki-based indie pop group who fronted by Antti Reikko and who play a very unique kind of pop music that I haven’t heard anywhere else in the Nordic region. They’re influenced by Elliott Smith, Wilco, Neutral Milk Hotel and early Weezer and are a pleasure to listen to.
The album ‘Rich Men Poor Men Good Men’ is the third in the band’s discography, but it’s their first full-band effort and is built around the experiences of singer-songwriter Antti Reikko. They’re a five-piece band, with Reikko playing acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, trombone and mandolin, as well as singing and writing lyrics.
It’s a very cheerful, instrument-stuffed indie pop record that can be listened to all at once, or in small bites. The songwriting is sprightly and it’s all in the spirit of the mid-’00s when bands like Annuals, Decemberists, Grandaddy and The Shins were all making giddy, instrument-stuffed indie-pop records that weren’t getting much airplay.
There are also elements of folk, indie-rock and psychedelia to the band’s songwriting too. Suits & Evening Gowns for example is an indie-rock gem with a folk edge that hints at the likes of Death Cab for Cutie, while Cold Cold Arms is full of alt-country flavour and has the same feel as later Bright Eyes albums.
‘Songs of Hope and Science’ is a lovely debut album that reminds us that hope does lie just around the corner and that we can always find something to hold on to, no matter how dark things seem to get. It’s a really pleasant, melodic collection of songs that are as charming and lighthearted as they are thoughtful and evocative.