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Tenhi - Kauan CD (album) cover

KAUAN

Tenhi

 

Prog Folk

3.66 | 24 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
2 stars I have to say that I found Tenhi’s debut album to be rather boring, particularly when considered as a progressive folk work. Like Sigur Rós, this is a band that blurs the lines between neo-folk, post-rock and ambient music. Also like Sigur Rós, and somewhat in the vein of 3rd & the Mortal, the mood is generally pretty dark, with sporadic background vocal chanting that evokes the Nordic land from whence they come.

The lineup would eventually expand to include a cellist, flautist and a couple violinists, but on this debut there are only the three founding members and violinist Eleonora Lundell, who apparently officially joined the lineup around the time of this release but is pictured in the album’s artwork apart from the other members and facing away from the camera for some reason.

The copy I have is from the fourth issue of the album, a tastefully laid-out digipack with what appear to be poems representing the themes of the various tracks written in both Finnish and an old script form of English. I say these must be poems instead of lyrics because other than the unintelligible chanting from time to time there are no vocals on the album. This version also features two lengthy bonus tracks (“Kielo” and “Niin Auer Hiljaa Vie”) which are apparently not found on the other releases.

The music is quite dreary, dark and cold, consisting mostly of guitars, violin, a very sparse bass, and various percussive and synthetic sounds. Most of the tracks amount to guitar noodling around some riff repeated for several minutes with very minor variations and accented by the violin and percussion. Nothing earth-shaking or really all that original.

The one track that picks up a little bit of steam is “Mavourneen's Song” with a slightly ambitious strumming guitar and about the only vocals that seem to have a point, but unfortunately they also appear to be in Finnish. The English translation in the liner notes lead me to believe this is some sort of dysfunctional love song, but unless you’re a Goth type the message probably won’t appeal to you much.

Following this is “Straying” with some austere but rather beautiful piano and more Finnish vocals. I must say the vocalist (when you can make him out) sounds quite a bit like the Hungarian Péter Pejtsik of After Crying. The piano theme continues on “Drift”, but by the time the bonus tracks roll around the sound is back to bleak Nordic gloom and guitar strumming. “Niin Auer Hiljaa Vie” in particular is quite depressing.

Sometimes I pick up imports like this on a whim based on brief descriptions of the band I’ve read somewhere and a hunch. With this one I have to say I’m a bit underwhelmed, and wouldn’t really recommend this too much except to people who are into dark, snow-crusted and gloomy ambient music. If that sounds like you then you might get off on this album; otherwise, I think this is probably best left to fans of the band. Two stars, almost but not quite three.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 2/5 |

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