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coverpic flag Czech Republic - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 29 - 03/02/99

Various Artists
Czeching In
Skoda Records

Thanks to years spent behind the Iron Curtain, Czech popular music still doesn't really have any established distribution in the West. (Classical and folk music are a different story.) Fortunately, inroads are being made by small independent upstart companies and this collection is a sampler of one such company. Based in Delaware, Skoda Records is the U.S. distributor of the band Uz jsme doma. In addition to this band, Czeching In also contains samples of ten other groups.

Following the opening Light Explosion by Sum Svistu, (it's an instrumental cross between Devo's Bread and Butter and David Byrne at his tropical best), Tichá Dohoda (Silent Agreement) delivers Anchor and Cross. It features Blanka Srumová's strong vocals. Waterfalls by the Go Go's sound-alike Zuby Nehty is followed by Mnaga a Zdorp's Sometimes. This band is best known for its unusual name and depressing lyrics. The oriental sounding You Remain Alone by Laura a jeji tygri isn't too upbeat either:

Hearts, brains, bodies
Blind hands, hot breath.
Same promises, same haste
And what remains is
Boredom, boredom, boredom.

The rather disturbing Wolves by Tornádo Lue leads to an even more twisted One Day by Dunaj:

One day
Into the extinguished
Slab of your body
Will fall
The slab of body mine.

Unfortunately the next track, Sto zvírat's Puppet, breaks the mold; it is the weakest link of this album. But Uz jsme doma's instrumental Jassica makes up for the low spot. The liner notes contain a story of a grey whale (Jassica) who falls in love with a sailor and gives birth to a baby giraffe also named Jassica. The whole saga is illustrated by Martin Velísek, the band's sixth member.

The final two cuts bring us back to Earth (albeit slightly skewed Earth). First, Yoyo Band unleashes No, Not That from their first album Karviná and then Buty closes with I'd Like To Be Called John:

I'd like to be called John
To be a friend of girls and ladies
To visit them uninvited
And leave unrecognized.
All of my youth,
All of my old age -
I'd like to be called John

And so, this collection takes us on a whirlwind tour, from the silly tropical beginning to the bottom of the ocean - and back up again. Skoda Records did an excellent job packaging this collection with pictures and complete lyrics in Czech and English. Czeching In presents an accurate representation of the contemporary music scene and I wish the young company all the success.

Copyright © 1999 Ivan Sever e-mail address

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