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coverpic flag Czech Republic - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 1 - 11/25/96

YoYo Band
Jenom Kour
Bonton Music

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 e-mail address

You may also want to check out our YoYo Band article/review: Gejza.

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