Folk is one of the most consistent genres, and I only say that because it doesn’t seem to be of general consensus or even considered for that matter. Not only is it the oldest genre, but for it to have survived this long ever-flourishing, albeit at a snail’s pace, is no less than noteworthy. Tenhi is a Finnish folk band, dabbling in neo-folk and the like, and have always maintained an undercurrent of natural beauty, and what I mean by that is the songs sound improvised, as if all the sounds are instinctual. This is a fantastic quality - not that this takes anything away from arranged music - because, and especially for the genre, they can paint you into the world of the album and it feels so effortless that you can get just as much out of it from inside your head as you could from within the woods or a river. Saivo, probably their most “night-time” album, continues their quality and continues the journey.
The most noticeable element of the album is that it is quieter overall compared to their other records, due to a little less layering. The first two songs give this away immediately; Saivon Kimallus begins the album like an awakening, the creaking of wood, soft harmonium, and omnipresent piano runs build into the standard muttered vocals, but only as a crescendo whereby Pojan Kiiski solidifies the ideas Saivon Kimallus introduced. Pojan Kiiski also shows that the vocals are granted more emphasis than ever by adding what amounts to a vocal ensemble, an element carried out evenly through the album, and somehow adds to the old sound - Pallu Joelle exemplifies this perfectly.
However, a lot of these songs are also their most complex, giving an interesting dichotomy to those who know the band and a change of pace to folk fans. Speaking of folk, Saivo has, moreso than their other albums, melded the traditional sound of folk with the sounds that forsake the pure folk idea - post rock and ambient for example - which is both funny and great (see Siniset Runot with its three minute ambient interlude or the both ambient and folk Savoie); the standard drum kit works wonders with small pinches of jazz influence but instead of keeping the flute (its in two tracks only), they add a contrabass and electric guitars.
The album is as long as the others, around an hour, and the band didn’t do many favors by arranging the less interesting tracks all near the end, so it will probably start to drag for those who aren’t enamored (luckily, Siniset Runot revitalizes interest). The only other qualm noticeable is the chorus in Pojan Kiiski was just a bad idea, for everything surrounding it is wonderful; the last thing you do when you build up emotion that way is go into an extremely simple, out of place dirge, but that may be just me. That’s not to say Tenhi is bad at mixing up emotions. Haaksi, one of the few long songs, ebbs and flows almost like a river from a tranquil sunset to a somber lamentation, back and forth with no effort whatsoever. Basically, despite a couple missteps, Tenhi represents basically the only good Finnish export this year, and seemingly with no effort whatsoever, as per usual.