Review Summary: Days long gone to life
Rather than tear away from their acclaimed mystery Sorni Nai
toward another grandiose tale, Kauan have instead taken on a more introspective task. Kaiho
is a familiar feeling; one that has, in one way or another, affected all of us. The placid strings remain restrained by the maturity of the songwriting rather than being let loose to set a lofty atmosphere, and the pace of the record is more akin to a slow-burner rather than a climactic overture. It is, after all, a record wholly focused on the power of nostalgia and the jarring transition from carefree yesterdays to an ever-darker and more burdensome tomorrow – a mammoth topic that could only be reduced to fragility by a band as talented as these Russian artists.
Now residing in Ukraine, Anton Belov has penned yet another masterwork of post-rock that defies genre tendencies to build toward constant crescendo. Instead, his band opts for the more challenging face of post-rock that makes the listener think about just what it is the band is trying to say. Letting the listener decide for themselves what the album means is something Kauan have always had a penchant for, but things seem decidedly amplified on Kaiho
. Perhaps it is the simplicity of it all; the way “Kasvot” reduces to simple acoustic guitar strumming or the graceful, near-A Capella tendencies of “Sateen Huuhtoma”, but Kauan achieve so much with the bare minimum of instrumental flair. Rather, Kaiho
is a tour-de-force of pure songwriting brilliance, remaining a hopeful endeavor even at its most lurid moments.
On the surface, the record has an upbeat attitude about such a heavy topic. The vibrance of the album’s early tracks paint a colorful picture that instantly conjures flashbacks to the happiness of childhood, but melancholic underpinnings constantly linger behind many of Kaiho’s
evocative melodies. Belov’s restrained vocal performance is intentionally so, allowing the strings, keys, and simple guitars to carry the record’s bare-bones, close atmosphere. There is near-constant motion within the album, as movements rise and fall away to form a final product that never lies in stagnation, allowing for an easy-on-the-ears listen that instead challenges you emotionally – a trick Kauan have always performed but one that is by far the most effective here.
is a different album to each individual listener. It is meant to evoke the same feelings within its audience – nostalgia, sorrow, and a strong sense of hope – but given that each person has lived a different life, the record means something slightly different to everyone. It could be crushingly sad to one, yet pull out fond, joyous memories for another. The lesson itself is clear, though: life is an onerous journey, and rather than dwelling on the better days that have long since passed Kaiho
so poignantly reminds us all that the most important thing is to take each day as it comes.