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Katalena - Kmečka ohcet CD (album) cover

KMEČKA OHCET

Katalena

 

Prog Folk

2.10 | 2 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
2 stars Katalena’s third album is a slight departure for the band. Like the first two, this is a collection of reinterpreted traditional Slovenian folk and folk-inspired tunes. The new twist here is that the songs are string together into a sort of theme album, with the theme being love, marriage and coming of age woven from a series of separate vignettes. While stories of lovers and lost love are familiar topics for folk music, and music in general really, this is an unusual album because it presents concepts of love from a third-party standpoint.

The first track is an old Solvenian child’s lullaby that here tells of two young and yearning lovers who are fated to never meet. Musically this is an unremarkable tune, although once again the band’s clarinetist distinguishes himself.

“Dajte, dajte” is an eight-minute instrumental that isn’t folk at all, but rather some tasty jazz with a soaring clarinet arrangement and persistent, ominous piano that could have sounded just about as at-home on many post-rock albums I’ve heard over the past few years; while “Lucija” offers an acoustic beat and a one of the band’s more intense compositions. It tells of a woman being mocked because she is aging but unmarried, and in danger of becoming a spinster.

“Dajte, dajte” is a traditional Slovenian tune that is meant to be sung when a bride approaches her alter. Its message is to the parents and elders, exhorting them to make way for the young who are now emerging as adults themselves. The arrangement is playful and the sound effects reinforce the bridal celebration theme, but as a progressive work this is one of the band’s weaker offerings. “Oj, Božime” is almost too introspective, a picture of a young bride wishing her father and brothers farewell. A poignant sentiment, but the music is quite bland and doesn’t add much to the album.

I suppose one would have to be Slovenian to fully appreciate “Prstan’, but it seems to be a story of the lengths of devotion some wives in that country’s history had to go in devotion to their marriages. Again this is strongly accented by clarinet, with the keyboards and percussion leaning heavily into improvisational jazz territory.

“Le pijmo ga” is a guitar-driven rocker, the first I’ve heard from this band. This is a “Let’s Party!” tune, probably meant to be sung at the wedding reception. Polka-like dance music interspersed with playful guitar power chords. “Dajte, dajte” is also a party tune, but more intense and slightly negative, almost as if this represents the surliness that some people lapse into when they get a tad bit too much ‘partying’ in them. Odd tunes, both decent but not folk or prog.

The instrumental “Pleši, pleši, črni voz” is actually quite a bit like “Dajte, dajte”, so in this case it probably should have had some variety built in. And the closing “Nede mi več rasla” contains a proverb about decisions in life often being made not based on love or emotions, but on practicality and need. Really depressing for me, maybe not so much so for others.

This is probably the weakest of the three Katalena albums. Still decent music, and I like the idea of the band attempting to bring cohesion to the body of work by giving it an overall loose theme; but musically this is an underachieving work compared to what the band has proven they are capable of. I’m not sure if they were rushed in the studio, lost interest, or got too wrapped up in themes and lyrics and gave too little attention to the music. Maybe a little of all three. In any case this is a two star album, and while I don’t think it is a bad album, I wouldn’t really recommend it to anyone except those who are inclined to be completionists and may already have one or both of the band’s other recordings.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 2/5 |

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