It’s raining outside. Winter light barely penetrates the November sky. Amidst the gloom, April is just a dream. A brave crocus shows itself, but there is a mountain of cold to be crossed before it will be in the company of others.
The dream becomes more lucid with the arrival of Aphrilis, the tenth studio album from Lau Nau. It takes the ancient name for the fourth month, dedicated to Aphrodite. “April” opens proceedings with the gentlest instrumentation and the Siren call of spring. It is a long wait for the birds to return, but Laura Naukkarinen’s soothing vocals guide them on soaring currents.
As they float over oceans and deserts, “Kielet on viretty tuuleen” [EN: “The Strings Are Tuned to the Wind”] will carry them to more familiar land. If they are tired, they can stretch their wings and be lulled by “Nukahtamislaulu” [EN: “Lullaby”]. These are songs that lift and flow with warmth.
“Simona” incorporates the chatter of the birds. “Planeeta” [EN: Planet] flows and ebbs like the tides, pulled by the moon and released in a gravitational rhythm. Borderless migrants all, the birds carry seeds from place to place and must wonder why the air must get worse so that a handful of billionaires can put more dollars into their pockets.
As their destination draws near, “Paratiisin kukkivat puut” [EN: “The Flowering Trees of Paradise] shows the power of renewal.
“Seitsemäs taivas” [EN: “Seventh Heaven”] strokes the soul with feather-light touches. When you have arrived in your smultronställe and feel in alignment with the world, then it might be like this. Aphrilis is the month of Aphrodite, but there is enough beauty and love in Aphrilis to last more than thirty days.
Seitsemäs Taivas is also the name of Lau Nau’s extended musical family. Assisting Naukkarinen here are collaborators Matti Bye on celesta and synths, Pekko Käppi on jouhikko, Hermanni Yli-Tepsa on violin and contrabass, Topias Tiheäsalo on electric guitar, and Samuli Kosminen (Múm) on various instruments. They were given their own spaces to contribute, and the results are intricate murmurations of the most delicacy and precision. The album is a journey through the elements, but it ends where we started – with the gentle patter of the rain.