Miljardid is the latest step in the twisty-turny musical career of Marten Kuningas, who has released music in bands like Leegitsev Sidrun (Flaming Orange), as well as two solo albums.
The latter of those solo albums featured the same lineup as here – Kuningas, Raul Ojamaa, Kristjan Kallas, Peedu Kass – and was evidently more than just a backing band, as they changed their name to Miljardid afterwards.
Sonically, the project has a fair bit in common with Kuningas’ earlier efforts, but still forms a different kind of whole. Indie rock and mellow, occasionally psychedelic touches cross paths with guitar licks evoking African music, and even 808-style bass one might be more accustomed to hearing in the context of contemporary rap records.
Kuningas is a versatile vocalist and poetic writer, and here his lyrics – revolving around life in the West (the album title stands for “Once Upon a Time in the West”) and the various feelings and impressions of an individual in the device-drenched 21st century – pave way to an often melancholy, thoughtful crooning, which may up the ante to explosive and theatrical in a snap.
“Kunagi läänes” masterfully blends artistic ambitions, virtuosic musicianship, and pop appeal into a proportional whole.
Stream “Kunagi läänes” on Spotify.