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Artisokka, A Hiding Place in the Harbor (Shelflife)
A Hiding Place in the Harbor is the debut album by Finland's Artisokka. Artisokka, which means "artichoke" in Finnish, plays gentle, earnest indie-pop that is some of the best indie-pop you will hear all year. Listening to this record will slowly convince you that Finland is some sort of utopian paradise full of gentle souls and gorgeous landscapes, because that is what Artisokka sounds like. Between the soft strings that accompany many of tracks on the record, the carefree pace of the vocals, and the ambient landscapes on the album's cover, it seems that Artisokka knows something about serenity and peace that alludes the rest of us. "Imprint" is the best example of the Artisokka ethic. An effortless pop song, "Imprint" would sound good no matter the season or the time of day. It would make you feel good if you put it on the turntable right this very second. Go ahead and try. Other strong tracks include "Mint", which is perhaps the record's jangliest track, "Motionless", which opens the album and is elusive in its aims and direction (in a good way), and "Change", which sounds like a Finnish band imagining what it sounds like to waste away a spring afternoon at a bar in Acapulco. Overall, A Hiding Place in the Harbor is a strong effort by an unknown Finnish band that will continue to garner attention if it continues releasing records that sound like this.