Bands comprised of siblings is nothing new. It is an age old tale in the realm of rock and roll, notoriously creating some of the best and most infamous music. South Minnesota-based trio Loki’s Folly are no exception to the formula of family-to-band pipeline, but there is a distinct nucleus that sets them apart. Comprised of two young sisters, Annie (age 21) on guitar and vocals, Nissa (age 16) on drums and vocals, and a brother, Oskar (age 12) on bass. Their youth is a factor to the spirit that drives their sound, while each member brings their own unique personality to the music, resulting in a sound gelled from their shared upbringing.
Loki’s Folly’s debut album Sisu (via Josie Cotton’s Kitten Robot Records) is out everywhere today. The 12-track release brims with indie rock and punk ideations spewing with gusto and frenzy. The album’s lead single, “Beaches and Peaches” appears as the record’s closing track, and stands out as a playful punk number with frolicking vocals against a pileup of frenetic instrumentation. Guitarist Annie Kuchenmeister says of the track, “’Beaches and Peaches’ is a song that began as goofing off during a practice session trying to rhyme different fruits and vegetables while slowly intermixing stronger feelings about the state of the world as we went along… The song’s result felt like the perfect description of the uncertain and uncomfortable future that seems imminent. Maybe trying to bring some humor into the anxiety over things like climate change, politics and where humanity will be in the next number of years.”
“Sisu,” a Finnish word that roughly translates to inner strength or one’s ability to push through and overcome difficult experiences, resonated with the band who felt it made a fitting descriptor for what everyone had gone through during the pandemic. “As soon as we were close to finishing the album, we realized it was the perfect description of both world and personal events, as well as a bit of a running theme in the songs on the album: persevering and getting through tough things,” said Annie. With some of Sisu’s songs stemming from the band’s earliest creations in 2017, the body of work is a true culmination of their coming-of-age from childhood to young adults. Their youth is a prominent force in their sound, with their jubilance and imperfections reminding listeners just how young they truly are, yet it remains an ever-present source of endearment and novelty from start to finish. Tracks like “Poison Heart,” “The Love Song,” and “Trickster v2” highlight their callowness and embrace any imperfections.
Each track is composed as short-form punk songs in typical structure of the genre, with the longest track clocking in at 3:15 and the shortest at 1:39. There is an insatiable hunger for music creation that permeates steadily throughout the album, especially on songs “Little Mermaid” that builds into a booming battle cry, and “Into the Darkness” that rumbles with shroud screams and a complex structure. Instrumentally the effort is incredibly impressive, crafted with careful composition and a salient vigor that is attributed to their burning passion for music and more than anything else, having fun doing so. It does not strive for perfection vocally, which cements it as an album you are intended to take as it is.
Taken at face value, each track may appear as silly, garage rock numbers. Diving deeper, lyrically there are heavy meanings embedded throughout. The fuzzed-out “Appease the Girl,” which features Soul Asylum’s Dave Pirner on guitar, was written by Annie to describe her experience having to navigate the world as an autistic person. The indie rock outcry of opener “The Love Song” decribes the toll that bullying has on someone. The compelling, high-octane “No Right” documents the frustration for the casual injustices women face every day. “Into the Darkness” is a rowdy indie punk song about trying to escape a disconnected state of mind, while the boisterous “Don’t Come Back” begrudges toxic relationships and situations. Overall, Sisu offers a captivating view of the complex emotional landscape that we’ve come to know as modern adolescence, but it does so with freeing, punky abandon.
Recording began at Flowers Studio recording three songs with Ryan Smith and Ed Ackerson (Motion City Soundtrack, The Replacements, The Jayhawks) shortly before he passed. Furthering tracking took place at IPR where the band recorded eight more songs with Kevin Bowe (Paul Westerberg and the Replacements) and Smith. The band also had the opportunity to work with John Fields (Pink, Miley Cyrus, Andrew W.K., and Demi Lovato) who helped them find ways to work creatively while doing all the mixing remotely during the pandemic.The siblings’ energetic and passionate live shows have since garnered a devoted fan base from longtime Minnesota musicians, including Soul Asylum, Haley, Gramma’s Boyfriend, The Melismatics, and Ryan and Pony who have all asked them to support their hometown shows. This live energy is exuberantly displayed even in each studio track, suggesting their prowess as a live unit.
At its essence, Loki’s Folly plays loud music that makes them happy. Breaking down the barriers of stereotypical family bands and conventional music creation, they are a trio that promises to be follow their own path and prioritize their authenticity. With steadfast drive and impressive aspirations, Loki’s Folly’s evolution is sure to be as impressive as their entrance.
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