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coverpic flag Czech Republic - Full Moon 37 - 10/24/99

Tri sestry
Na Kovárne, to je nárez
Monitor/EMI

If you happened to understand the lyrics, you'd be immediately struck by the despair, references to alcohol, death, mental anguish, even by the occasional racism. At a casual glance, one may also wonder why would Monitor/EMI choose to re-release this collection which was originally recorded in 1990 at "the chasm and 'At the Old Branik Smithy' pub." What is it about this band's reved up, ultra-punky attitute and behind their sloppy 'singing'?

In my opinion, it is because a casual listener is likely to miss the solid musicianship, the quite sophisticated production and occasionally witty verses and astute observations.

So far, Tri sestry ('The Three Sisters,' which is not only the title of a play by Anton Chekhov, but also the name of a dormant volcano), has released seven albums, this being their first. After the opening Ztráta imunity (Loss of Immunity) about a girl on her way to sell her body to tourists, and Veci divnej spád maj (Things Turn Out Weird ... life is like a slide/you leave early/and die unrecognized) comes Divny stavy (... here it is again, that 'Odd Condition' /that's gonna drive me mad).

Kino Zdar (The Cinema 'Success') starts with footsteps and a squeaking door, and features the following story:
Poprvé dnes sedí spolu For the first time they sit together
v sedmé rade kina Zdar In the seventh row of Cinema 'Success'
Snad je to tu intimnejsí Maybe it's more intimate here
nez hospoda nebo bar than in a pub or a bar.
Nechci poznat kino Zdar I don't want to know the Cinema 'Success'
bodejz by ho satan spral I wish Satan would take it
Nechci poznat kino Zdar I don't want to get to know the 'Success'
od toho jdi radci dál you better leave it alone.

The slower Bába (Old Hag) is about idly hanging out at a pub with nothing to do. While Kenda is similar, Sovy v mazutu (Owls in 'Mazut') surprises with a folksy guitar-and-voice ditty about animals in a dying forrest. Zivot je takovej (That's How Life Is) was the "Sisters" break out single. It mixes a slick lounge opening, a vaguely Russian-sounding chorus and repeated question: "What kind of an animal am I?" Sny o lahvich sody (Dreams of Soda Bottles) on the other hand features their "cowboy" sound which The Ventures made famous in 1961. Budapest closes with

"Our lives are miserable
That's why we're trying to get to Vienna.
After we cut through the barbed wire,
Maybe we will be accepted kindly."

sung to the melody of Yankee Doodle Dandy. Immediately following Metalice (it's a pun similar to - say - "Metalphor") opens with the rudely interrupted Beatles, and the whole album ends with some drunken singing...

Now, that's a lot of territory for a punk band. But of course, Tri sestry is not just another punk band. In spite of such individual self-depreciating nicknames as "Idiot" or "Rag", the band members are quite successful. They run a complete commercial enterprise, that includes seemingly haphazard yet carefully produced albums, a well-orchestrated touring schedule, and even a sophisticated Web site complete with an on-line-shop.

This may not be everybody's cup of tea. But for the adventurous, it may be worth 'czeching' out.

Copyright © 1999 Ivan Sever e-mail address

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