Už Jsme Doma — Pohádky Ze Zapotrebí
(Skoda SK0007-2, 1995, CD)
It's a pretty rare event when I can honestly compare a CD reviewed in this magazine to both Devo and Madness, so I'm going to make the most of it here. The Devo comparisons are actually quite numerous — frantically paced music, liberal adherence to tempos, keys, and time signatures, bass parts that sound like they were written for some other song. One of the vocalists for Už Jsme Doma is a vocal carbon copy of Mark Mothersbaugh to boot! It's pretty scary actually when you think about it. I keep expecting them to launch into "Sloppy." The frequent and dominant tenor sax parts really do sound like something from Madness too. Not all of the album, however, is based in the wonderful world of late 70s punk and new wave. The other main influence appears to be folk. It's quite different to hear Devo vocals over waltz music in 3/4. Somehow, Už Jsme Doma even manage to throw in some softer piano led tracks like the serene opening to "Bila Hol." The blue ribbon for this album goes to the drummer for the truly berserk drums in "Kouzelnik." If you're been looking for the latest in new wave folk, the search can end with Už Jsme Doma.
by Mike Grimes,
If one is wondering how to pronounce the title of the fourth album by this equally unpronounceable Czech sextet, don't feel too bad — the writer is in essentially the same boat. Just call it UJD #4. Having followed this band since their 1990 album Uprostred Slov
, each successive release has seen a further distillation of their unique character, and a band growing into an extremely powerful and cohesive unit. While many of the earmarks of great progressive rock music are here in abundance (the difficult time signatures, fast changes and oblique melodic twists), their music is delivered with punk-rock urgency —
a no-frills production style, shouted vocals, growling bass and a buzzing intensity throughout. There are strong folk elements within their compositions as well, but no flabby synths or gimmicky effects, this is outstanding musicianship at its most basic, with no disguises in tow. The lineup is guitar (sometimes two), piano (but not always), bass, tenor sax, drums, and percussion, with occasional extra winds and brass... and plenty of frantic vocals from four of the members. Their style is unique and instantly identifiable, at times recalling some of the weird art-pop stylings of bands like Debile Menthol, but pushed to the energetic limits and then some. This is music to challenge the senses and break the barriers, a perfect anecdote for those looking to escape the bland excesses of the standard fare. Recommended.
by Peter Thelen,
There is a distinct Eastern European feeling to this. Be it in the stern voices over syncopated binary rhythms where saxophones are rarely making notes lasting longer than a third of a second. Be it the way harmonies are made, balancing on the RIO/punk borders, while everything is mostly delivered at full throttle, with frantic yet simple drumming, flurries of sax notes accenting rhythmically the chords, and structural bases revolving around short repetitive lines in some kind of augmented or diminished mode. I'm reminded at times of a heavy Forever Einstein on steroids. Lyrics are in Czech and rendered with that special touch that would make the Russian Anthems Fan Club jealous, when they are not simply talked or shouted over hyper-syncopated lines played with what seems all the joyousness that could characterize the Leningrad Cowboys on a severe overdose of caffeine.
In this stormy blend, which isn't typical prog fare at all, we may find very few resting, calmer places, but the tension is almost always there. The musicianship is apt, and of notice, the bass player who, with his strong yet supple fast bass lines, revolves around and over the drumming. UJD is rather bare-sounding, the complete and direct antithesis of symphonic rock. Now, it is an interesting disc, nevertheless, with lots of busy instruments played flawlessly. I wonder what effect the first opening pieces could have, when played full blast on the sound system, on the local ecosystem. maybe it could make milk curdle in a matter of minutes. Or make mosquitoes spit blood. It's also interesting to find UJD quoted in a prog rock context, as it is definitively showing that prog encompasses a lot more than what could be glimpsed in a not too exhaustive overview. Punk prog? Thrash prog? By now, it's obvious that this is not recommended to Pendragon and other neo-prog amateurs. Rather, Pohádky Ze Zapotrebí
could find its way starting with RIO fans, most likely. A stunning way to underline your serving of vodka at your next party.
by Alain Lachapelle,
Filed under: New releases, Issue 10, 1995 releases
Related artist(s): Už Jsme Doma