K-X-P, "II"
K-X-P, "II" ( Picasa )
The shouts of “K! X! P!” at the start of proggy Finnish electro-pop trio K-X-P's II almost feel corny, but then again, the song is called “Melody.” It's a very self-aware kind of corny and the melody is pretty irresistible. It's also pretty tame compared to where the album will go in the next 30 minutes.

That joyous track works itself into a frenzy from a short intro of warped chamber horns, and the album mostly maintains an inexhaustibly propulsive energy throughout. It all feels like it's moving aggressively toward something, or as if it should soundtrack flyover shots of mystical future world. If that sounds nuts, that's because II sounds a little nuts. It works best at its most dance-ready moments, particularly “Easy (Infinity Waits)” and “Magnetic North.”

The sense of a journey is heightened, thanks to the album's interludes. “Tears” is labeled an extended interlude --which in this case amounts to five minutes and 38 seconds of jungle drumming, droning and soaring synths and ethereal female “ahhh”s. Other interludes are much shorter, though less simply named. “Ekmviv” connects the woozy, highly danceable “Magnetic North” to the intense adventure of “In The Valley,” with 19 seconds of synth blips and bloops. The strangest is “Reel Ghosts,” which is 39 seconds of opera played backwards, making you itch for liner notes to identify the song and maybe provide some context. It leads us from the blah, forgettable “Flags and Crosses” to the thumping “Easy (Infinity Waits)” and really just doesn't make much sense.

You might find yourself asking "why?" a lot while listening to II, and at times, it's a problem for K-X-P, but it's mostly the kind of confusion you enjoy. You have no idea where the weird trip is taking you, but you're down for the ride.