Czech Republic - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 1 - 11/25/96
For this premier issue of Luna Kafé fanzine, I selected the
latest release by a Czech band with the most 'western' attitude, the
YoYo Band. For me, the Band represent a very successful combination
of European sensibilities and Afro-American musical expressions.
Album Jenom kour (Nothing But Smoke) was released by Bonton
Music (71-0299-2) earlier this year. It contains by now a typical
YoYo Band mixture of some banal even embarrassing lyrics in Czech
with genuine musical surprises. Here are some of the highlights.
The opening track Jedem do Afriky (We're Going To Africa) is
a catchy, medium tempo raggae, with some charming geographically and
politically illogical lyrics. On the other hand, the title track is a
successful ballad that features pensive singing and tastefully improvised
guitar and sax licks alternating between verses.
Pipin a Bert is comprised of a slap-bass sound and very
dry multiple layered vocals, some sampling, subtle sound effects, a
rich acoustic guitar trading 2 bar sections with a distant sax solo. With
an abrupt ending, it all adds up to a funky hiphop groove.
A big-band vocal-and-horns arrangement opens Ja to mam rad S.M.
(I Love S & M) under the lyrics, 'First she hit me with a shovel,
then with a board. It was wonderful. So feeling mushy, in return I
threw a brick at her and asked to marry her!" followed by a Czech rap,
"Jo, sado maso, to je zradlo!" (Sado-masochism is delicious!) and a
lead-out over a hot, improvised trumpet solo. Wow!
And finally, the jazzily arranged Cernej ptak (Black Bird),
creates a perfect melancholic mood to the lyrics '...what were we
thinking last night that would make me already drink this morning?
The thread is broken; just let it go... let me go..." Acoustic sounds,
whispered lyrics, lonely sax and a Terje Rypdal sounding guitar all add
to this mood. The only exception seems to be the too-busy drumming.
So, Jenom kour delivers on typical YoYo Band ingredients:
mostly Caribbean beats and sexually suggestive lyrics. There aren't as
many hits as in their first album Karvina, but at least the Band
is moving forward from their follow-up Prachy na klobouk. Overall,
this combination of reggae and rock styles with funk, rap and jazz is
successful, even if the same cannot be said for all the lyrics.
The YoYo Band recordings can be purchased at all the Bontonland outlets
throughout Czech Republic. So czech it out!
Copyright © 1996 Ivan Sever