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Tenhi - Kauan CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.64 | 28 ratings

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4 stars Eclecticism can woo you with best of breed haunches where every cut offers its own distinct flavor, like the vildebeest, or it can tuck you in under its uniform quilt from which you are both unwilling and unable to emerge until its promise is consummated. Of course, even though each panel absorbs you a little more, before you can be released you are primed for another night of staring emptily at the stars from beneath it. Such is the effect of this mammoth debut release of Finnish neo folk group TENHI.

Simply arranged with strummed acoustic and electric guitars in generally slow tempos; drearily resigned vocals lurking beneath an already sombre surface; occasional morose violin effected in a Northeastern European style, and elegant synthesizer washes, the austere and stark beauty of "Kauan is a triumph of resiliency. It scratches several itches at once, in places that may have been ignored for years, nay, millenia. While nothing here could be said to be entirely distinctive on its own, its 52 minute bearskin nuzzle imparts what poseurs haven't dared to dream, let alone live. It might be facile to attribute this authenticity to the bleak wintry cycle of far northern climes, but if the snowshoe fits....

Influences like PINK FLOYD are in evidence in the more plodding sections, but the sound is closer in spirit to bands like PROMETHEAN from Norway, especially on the almost vivacious "Revontulet" and the symphonic low wattage power ballad "Hallavedet". I suspect the band is also versed in local traditional folk. Smigeons of doom and metal lurk but without the growls and decibels, leaving an essence that few have distilled, and I hear echoes of early medieval tinged Goth a la "Tears" by STRAWBS or "When I was on Horseback" by STEELEYE SPAN. The last couple of tracks are more brocaded and unstructured, which might appeal more to some here but come across as a few ideas that turned into pumpkins even though such transformation was not stipulated in the original bargain.

I have listened to the subsequent TENHI albums and this ranks as one of their best, as it's a unified work that is adventurous, accessible, and infused with the sage melancholy of the elders.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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