Earlier this year, the Finnish space-rock trio Joensuu 1685 returned with their first new song in a decade, the aptly titled “Hey My Friend (We’re Here Again).” Though the band had generated a little bit of buzz back in the late ’00s, they’d gone their separate ways for some time — frontman Mikko Joensuu with his Amen trilogy, and Markus and Risto (who’s also got the last name Joensuu, but isn’t related to the brothers) playing in the post-rock band Sinai. But the new single was just the first step in a full-blown new era of Joensuu 1685: Today, they’ve announced that their sophomore album ÖB will be out in October.
ÖB is actually the album the band were working on all those years ago, before their hiatus. When they regrouped and revisited the material, they decided to update some things but try and stay true to the album’s original vision; as a result, pieces of the music date from as far back as 2009 or as recently as 2019.
ÖB is partly influenced by the story of a man named Peter Krook, who was supposedly a common ancestor of the band, and who was born in 1685. In the story of the album, Krook is imprisoned in Ostrobothnia, in western Finland, where Joensuu 1685 had also begun recording this album over 10 years ago. “When we returned to record ÖB, we were allowed to re-immerse ourselves in the stream from which we drew and continue to draw,” Risto said in a statement. “It is a great celebration of returning home and completely unique to publish something that has been honed in the waves of our minds for so long and finally give it to listeners.”
Along with the announcement, Joensuu 1685 have shared a song called “Light In The Heart Of Our Town.” “It’s about an image of a dying town,” Mikko said of the track. “About a person in front of a gas station right at the edge of town, seeing the town and seeing oneself, what was, what is and what will be. It’s an image of the hope that runs deep in our bones…” Sitting on the more direct end of Joensuu 1685’s work (as opposed to the atmospheric “Hey My Friend”), it hits that Springsteen/Spiritualized hybrid this band sometimes taps into. Check it out below.
01 “Hey, My Friend (We’re Here Again)”
02 “Sweet Saviour”
03 “All Around You”
04 “Light In The Heart Of Our Town”
06 “The Most Luckiest Man”
07 “Running In Our Graves”
08 “I’m In Paradise”
ÖB is out 10/9 on Gems Records.