Amen 2 by Mikko Joensuu – One of the Best Albums of 2016

Amen 2 by Mikko Joensuu
Amen 2 by Mikko Joensuu

Amen 2 is the second instalment of Mikko Joensuu’s proposed soul-searching trilogy.

Mikko Joensuu was brought up with strong religious overtones. But in the seven years prior to the release Amen 1, he suffered with depression and loneliness. Whereas the first album is Mikko Joensuu coming to terms with the idea that God was no longer a part of his life, Amen 2 recounts a complicated person losing their religion and looking for understanding in a new way of thinking.

On Amen 1 Mikko Joensuu uses the sadness of alt country and a voice full of pain and fragility, at times reminiscent of Gram Parsons, on songs like ‘Warning Signs‘ explaining the doubt of his religious convictions.

Warning Sign from Amen 1

Amen 2 starts with the powerful, driving ‘Drop Me Down‘. From the initial hum, the fragile voice is all that remains from the first album. ‘Drop Me Down’ begins “Starts out with a silent word, with a voice that can now be heard”. This is a beautiful song that builds as it drives, forward on a journey from A to B. Piano, strings and fragile voice embrace a sadness. Drums and guitar build, lifting the song into anthemic realms of celebration. Over the course of seven minutes’Drop Me Down’ continues rolling forward, gathering momentum and power.

Drop Me Down from Amen 2

Whereas on Amen 1 the singer-songwriter from North Finland was sitting alone on the porch of his small cabin by the lake, staring into the water and strumming his acoustic guitar, on Amen 2 he gets up and walks into the forest to celebrate a new found freedom, rising out of depression and confusion with a forward-looking hope.

But as Mikko Joensuu explains,

“There’s a certain balance to be found between an overwhelming joy towards the beauty of life and living, and not really knowing if the mind will collapse into the abyss again. On Amen 2 the light is definitely present, although it is more interested in observing emotions and thoughts than setting them in stone.”

On Amen 2 Joensuu explores euphoric long tracks inhabiting a similar musical territory as My Bloody Valentine’s shoegazer melodies and the space gospel of Spiritualized, infused with a sprinkle of The Jesus & Mary Chain on tracks like ‘There Used To Be A Darkness‘. It is a step into the light, in every respect, and a record that is built on the feeling of relief and acceptance.

There Used To Be A Darkness from Amen 2

Amen 2 by Mikko Joensuu is a truly brilliant album that deserves all the praise it receives. One of my the best albums of 2016. Now I am intrigued where Amen 3 will take us.

Mikko JoensuuAmen 2 is released on Svart Records.

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