The Finnish new-wave band Hassisen Kone is such an amazing band. Hassisen Kone started as an ordinary punk / new-wave band and rose into public’s attention after winning the Finnish Rock Championship in 1980 (yes, we have this sort of things here, it’s ridiculous). The band’s frontman, Ismo Alanko was and still is one of the greatest and most influential Finnish lyricists out there and his acclaim’s basis is on his work with Hassisen Kone. He was also the rhythm guitarist and singer of the legendary Finnish post-punk band Sielun Veljet (AKA L’Amourder).
The first record, Täältä Tullaan Venäjä (1980) was quite straightforward and dealing with subjects such as the Cold War and Soviet Union with a strong touch of irony, but the band’s sound evolved quickly. The second record, Rumat Sävelet (1981) is a lot darker than it’s predecessor and the lyrics have turned into these almost jaded tales of what being a youth idol is really all about. High expectations, self-doubt, anxiety and bitterness. But this wasn’t enough, the sound had to evolve even more.
Harsoinen Teräs, the last recording the band, was made with an almost entirely new line-up and the originally four-piece band had turned into a seven-piece orchestra. The record sounds something like a combination of Talking Heads, Gang Of Four and the Pop Group with added percussions, saxophones, cheap toy organs and somewhat absurd, almost poetry-like lyrics with herds of lost, faithful sheep, giant man-eating hamburgers, tabloid animals, neurotic behavior and self-abuse. The album’s last song Pelko (Fear / Angst) is this six-minute long, dragging, miserable and twisted reggae song. The upbeat way Alanko sings the chorus is just twisted and hilarious. The chorus goes:
“Vedä aukko ranteeseen, ole iloinen. Peitä naamasi harson taa ja ole salaperäinen.
Kun sun aivosi pysähtyvät jäät yksin sydämesi kanssa. Joko pelottaa, joko pelottaa? Et pysty mitään salaamaan.
Kun sun aivosi pysähtyvät jäät yksin ruumiisi kanssa. Tunnetko tuskan hiipivän selkäsi taa? Se kaikki valheet paljastaa! Iskee pelko!”
This translates roughly into the following:
“Cut a hole in your wrist and be happy. Cover your face behind a gauze and be mysterious.
When your brain stops thinking you’re left alone with your heart. Are you frightened yet, are you frightened yet? You can’t hide anything away.
When your brain stops thinking you’re alone with your body. Can you feel the pain sneak behind your back? It reveals all your lies. And then the fear takes over!”
Lovely. Truly one of the greatest Finnish pop records I’ve heard.
But then there was the band’s last single and crown jewel, Hiljaa Virtaa Veri. A song about the incapability of men when it comes to love, affection and selflessness and how men, when they cannot understand women, become violent and the blood slowly flows away after a violent, emotionless fit. It is one of my favourite songs of all time.
“Annettu on kaikki mitä onneen tarvitaan, kädet levällään sen kaiken eessä itketään.
Voiko mies koskaan rakastaa muuta kuin itseään?
Vaikka suu on kii se valehtelee ja hiljaa pois veri virtailee.
Silmistä naisen mies oman kuvansa saa ja kun ei peiliä rikkoa saa, tuhotaan vaan!”
“We have been given all it takes for happiness. Still we kneel and weep in front of it all.
Can a man love anyone else than himself?
And although the mouth is shut, it lies anyway and the blood slowly flows away!
From the eyes of a woman the man reflects himself, but because he can’t break the glass, destruction’s set loose!”
Such a brilliant band.
PS: I apologise for my horrible translations, they do no justice to the original texts, but since most of you here on Tumblr speak English, I thought you’d enjoy the post more if you’d understand at least something.