Kutna Hora – Obsession, Faith, Perseverance

Kutna Hora from Argentina made a decent debut a few years ago. They were still looking for an own sound, but showed some nice ideas, a good sense of melancholy and a couple of good songs. Their follow-up album makes a more professional impression. Various instruments and musicians are involved, there is a larger variety in styles and the sound quality has improved. Still I think the band has not fulfilled its potential yet.

Perhaps Kutna Hora is a bit over-ambitious, because “Obsession, Faith, Perseverance” lasts almost 80-minutes. The album contains a musical mixture of dark acoustic folk, melancholic pop and wave, with various emotional ballads. The band takes it time for everything. The songs are also lengthy (sometimes over 8 minutes), often with long intros and outros. I suspect a stricter selection would have done the album better, because there are various moments on which which Kutna Hora can’t keep my attention.

Especially the folky songs are not always convincing, they are often not dynamic enough to impress. The arrangements are bit too basic and the vocals are not powerful enough to carry the songs. Of the folkier songs ‘Holy’ is perhaps the best piece, with lively drumming and strings adding a dose of atmosphere. There are also a few songs with martial / neoclassical influences, like ‘Our lady of Sedlec’ and ‘The voice of God’, which are welcome alternations, though not worked out very well.

Kutna Hora is at its best when creating melodic, poppy songs with a wavish feel. A good example is the uptempo ‘If I could ride my horses’, which makes me think of the style of the latest Trisomie 21 album. The sweet ballad ‘Farlands’ is fragile and moving, but goes on too long. The best track in my impression is the catchy popsong ‘Stay’, which automatically makes you tap your feet and nod along.

Though Kutna Hora makes a honest and sympathetic impression, the album is not convincing enough, with too many anonymous songs. The second half of the album is more lively though and partly makes up for that. I think people who like for instance In my Rosary or Novalis will certainly find some songs of their liking on “Obsession, Faith, Perseverance”. For a next release I think Kutna Hora could benefit from a more compact album with shorter songs and more stress on the melodic wave/pop songs.

artist: Kutna Hora
label: Ars Musica Diffundere
details: 13 tracks, 2005 [AMD 010]