Oddarrang: Agartha

The ingenious Finnish quintet find the overlap between post rock, prog, ambient and jazz.

Post rock aficionados will find in Oddarrang’s latest album, Agartha, a commingling of familiar and off-center qualities. The Finnish band have a foot in the jazz world – a Jazz Album of the Year award in their native country in 2007, a highly regarded appearance at the London Jazz Festival in 2012 – but their other foot stands on the same vast terrain occupied by Sigur Rós, Explosions in the Sky, Mogwai and the like. Its five members include a guitarist, bassist and drummer, your standard rock instruments, but also a trombonist and cellist.

Agartha draws Oddarrang further into grand-statement territory, but their ingenuitive structures don’t follow well-trod paths or telegraph their next moves. The ambient-prog hybrid “Telos/Agartha” defies easy comparisons. “Admiral Byrd’s Flight” opens with a foreboding folk guitar interaction, picks up a steady loping beat, then melts into Vangelis-style synthesizer and freeform drumming, coming to an almost full stop before building back up to one final skyward burst. Centerpiece “Mass I-III” isn’t without release, but the drama is in the prolonged tension, a point that Agartha drives home repeatedly.

RATING 7 / 10