I don’t know a lot about Finland.

Sure, there’s the stuff every American knows, such as the fact that Finland has a strong welfare state that provides average working people some basic protection that us in the US could only dream of. But that’s about it.

I know a little bit more about Finnish-Americans, having lived in Minnesota. More than a century ago, Finnish people were moving to Northern Minnesota in huge numbers. They were among the most exploited, working hard jobs in timber and mining. But they did not take this lying down. Finnish immigrants were parts of massive strikes in 1907 and 1916. They formed mutual aid societies, union locals, chapters of social democratic, socialist and communist parties and schools where workers could learn. They had an extensive cooperative movement, including a campground that still exists today.

That time period is long gone, but the experience of learning about it, or in some cases, trying to follow in the footsteps of these immigrant ghosts by resurrecting their projects, has left me with a soft spot for the Finns, as well as their language.

So I was happy to receive “Uusi aika”, an album released in Summer 2022 by the band Laki & Järjestys on Hell’s Tone Records. Meaning ‘Law & Order’, the group got their name from a 1990 song and album by Finnish Ramones worshipers, Ne Luumäet. “Uusi aika” roughly translates to ‘New Age’ and is what I assume is a Blitz reference.

“Uusi aika” is their first full length, although L&J have loosely existed in some form going back a decade and whose members have been involved in a number of punk bands in the past.

The music itself is sung in Finnish and is straightforward singalong street punk/oi with classic punk influences. Unfortunately, I cannot read their language, but the lyrics seem to deal with post-WW2 housing for returning vets, frustrating jobs, going to the bar, the difficulty of modern life and patriotism. The last part I could do without, but this is an aspect of the genre that is somewhat unavoidable so as long as it isn’t too forceful or cartoonish I can overlook it. There is also a cover of Cock Sparrer’s “I Got Your Number”.

Overall, a good listen. Here’s hoping that Laki & Järjestys can serve as inspiration to a new crop of Finnish bands in the same way Ne Luumäet, Cock Sparrer and Blitz did for them.

FOR FANS OF: Sex Pistols, Cock Sparrer, Blitz, oi sung in the band’s native language

Available on streaming services as well as through Hell’s Tone Records

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