Maybe I’ve been writing this blog far too long, because record labels are already starting to reissue the ones that I covered and loved during the early days of One Chord to Another. Soliti couldn’t have picked a better one to reissue though, so I’m glad they are reissuing Tragician’s Hat and I’m more than happy to feature it again. After all, Sister Flo’s Tragician’s Hat is a masterpiece and one of my all-time favourite albums. I still love everything about it. Samae’s beautiful vocals, the insightful arrangements, lyrics that sometimes make perfect sense and occasionally don’t make any sense whatsoever. Tragician’s Hat has aged perfectly. My review from 2004 probably hasn’t aged as perfectly and it sure is weird to read something you wrote ten years ago. Nevertheless here’s the 2004 review of Tragician’t Hat below.
Sister Flo: Tragician’s Hat (Delphic, 2004)
An instant love affair. Sister Flo is creating magical and colourful music. It’s simple enough to be enjoyable, but it’s also so detailed and thoughtful underneath. How can music so strong sound so soft and gentle. I know that Sister Flo will still improve, Tragician’s Hat might be just a start for a great career, but this indie group already deserves all the praises, because they’ve created a stunning collection of truly beautiful and captivating music. If you don’t know a thing about finnish pop music, this album would be a good place to start. Tragician’s Hat deserves to be heard.
Tragician’s Hat contains ten beautifully and well arranged songs. A huge part of their magic has always been the depth of their material. Yes, the heart of the song can be a simple delicate melody that gives the music an easy-flowing feeling, but there’s also so much depth and emotions in the songs. And even with the amount of detail and production ideas, it never sounds too massive. The saxophones, flutes and french horns are not taking the lead role, they just add another level and flavours to these well crafted songs. And what about the songs. Well these songs will easily reach your heart. White Noise and Guillotine. Either one of them could be my song of the year. At the moment it would be Guillotine. Quiet but still dynamic moments full of melodic charm and Samae’s sweet voice on top of that make the songs go into deeper than where any doctor could reach. Guillotine’s verse is probably just something too sad & beautiful. Strangely named Tina Turner Shitting Position is a wonderful pop tune and one of the catchiest songs on the album. And the ending. Oh dear how perfect it is. Although I do admit Nathaniel & Isabel was one of the only songs I didn’t love on the first listen. Perhaps the complexed and almost proge-ish structure was a bit too much at first. But a guess it had some reserved catchiness in it, because nowadays I love the song and the story of Nathaniel and Isabel is a perfect ending to a perfect record. All the songs would be worth mentioning, because there really are no mishits. Tragician’s Hat is sincere, captivating and full of warmth and comfort. Pure magic. The cover art and inlay drawings (by Ilja Karsikas) are also very lovely and fit so well to this music.
A guess that’s all I’m able to say. I’m not able to put it into words just how much I love Sister Flo’s music. All I’m able to do is to put my headphones on, hit the play button and watch the sleeping city below where everything is standing still. Only one local drunk is trying to find his home after a night in a bar downstairs. I can see only darkness, but there’s light in my heart. That’s because of you boys. Thank you.
Anniversary Edition of Tragician’s Hat is now out on Soliti Music. It’s out first time on vinyl and there’s also a double CD version where the original album is on one CD and the other one contains Proper Kites EP and rarities that never saw the light of the day back then. This is White Noise from Tragician’s Hat