Somehow, between the release of this year's Tulenkantaja (under the name Uusitalo) and his newest release under the name Luomo, Sasu Ripatti (who has also released work under the name Vladislav Delay and Sistol) lost me a bit. Don't get me wrong, Paper Tigers is another great album of dub-infected dance music, but given his rather relentless release schedule (and the fact that musically, the latter album has so many things in common with the former), this new nine track, hour long release sounds like more of the same.
It's true that Luomo has always been his more pop oriented pseudonym, and that holds true here, with breathy atmospheric filtered vocal swoops, sultry croons, and downright mainstream sounding hooks twirling each track together like some sort of alternative universe version of Kylie Minogue. The album-titled "Paper Tigers" opens the release and sets the stage with over seven minutes of stutter-starting beats, a funky rubber-band bassline and damn near indecipherable vocals that spread out across the horizon-line track. "Really Don't Mind" gets the hitch out of the giddy-up and plops things directly onto the dancefloor with more smooth synth bass lines and choppy vocals that eventually turn into actual lines that pull the smooth track together.
"The Tease Is Over" would move into downright schmaltzy territory if it weren't for the odd rhythmic change-ups, as Ripatti layers the track with downright mainstream sounding string-synth swells and quiet guitar melodies, while Finnish jazz vocalist Johanna Livanainen adds suitably sultry words. Without a doubt, one of the album standouts is the thumping "Good To Be With," a nine-minute workout that slowly builds tension with clipped vocals that eventually turn into full phrases while the music underneath slowly works itself out and turns into the closest thing to a 4/4 thumper that Luomo has ever done. If you've enjoyed previous work by Luomo/Delay/Uusitalo, you're probably not going to go wrong here, as Paper Tigers is nearly as tight and definitely as lavishly produced as his past work. Essentially, it's more of the same, and I can't quite figure out if that's a good or an okay thing.