LAKI & JÄRJESTYS: Uusi aika
Release year: 2022
Label: Hell’s Tone Records
In my review of Finnish Laki & Järjestys’ debut 7″ EP (click here to read) I lamented the fact that relatively few homegrown oi! bands have made a full album. It is therefore great that Laki & Järjestys’ debut album Uusi aika is in fact the second Finnish oi! album released this year – Hats & Caps beat them to the punch.
And what’s even better, this is the second good Finnish oi! album of the year.
In my review of the debut 7″, I commented that the band’s brickwall-like style was more Condemned 84 than Cock Sparrer. Though by and large this still holds true, there’s a lot more punk rock – with equal emphasis on both words – here than on the 7″. The approach to musicianship isn’t quite as knuckleheaded and stern as before; but that being said, in the spectrum of oi!, undoubtedly this still leans more towards walls of brick than the even power pop tinged sound of Sparrer.
In other words, it’s a question of very natural sounding evolution. And in most departments, the band have stuck to their guns. The lyrics still deal with unashamed patriotism, the plight of the working class and the deceit of the ruling class, the harsh realities of the streets and people who’veen down on their luck since day one. All standard fare for oi!, but they work well enough, and there’s more than one chorus here that is well suited for drunken singalongs in shabby Finnish venues.
Uusi aika offers nine tracks and 25 minutes of hard hitting oi!; that’s the simple bottom line. No, originality isn’t the album’s strong suit – good songs are. The defiantly patriotic Rintamamiestalo has from the start been the obvious high point of the album, but it’s closely followed by the punk rock homage of Liekki palaa and the anthemic Huomisen kadut – a track originally written by Finnish punk legends L.A.M.F., who never got around to record it and eventually “handed it down” to Laki & Järjestys, who do it great justice. The band also offer a Finnish cover of Cock Sparrer’s I Got Your Number named called Pidä varas!; this one is quite humorous, with a translation and arrangement that’s been left very rough around the edges and even a bit clumsy at times. Still, it works well enough.
The CD version features the aforementioned debut EP as bonus tracks. With it, the CD offers great value for money – but the album has no trouble standing on it’s own two legs, either. If the debut EP was a promise of good things to come, then the album fulfills that promise.