Sestra (Sister) is Psí Vojáci's first album for the post-Velvet revolution Czech label Indies. For this occasion, Filip Topol's group reunited with his brother, writer Jáchym Topol, to create their strangest CD of the 1990s. Many unusual elements single it out, but the most obvious remains the singer's use of a synthesizer (and a cheap one: a Casiotone MT-88) instead of the piano. He manages to do incredible things with the machine, from post-new wave melodic lines to vaguely avant-gardist ambient sounds. Nevertheless, anyone familiar with his later albums (either with Psí Vojáci or solo) will have to reset their expectations. The music establishes a bridge with the group's material of the early '80s, blending poetry recitation over experimental backgrounds ("Vlcí Sen, Do Mestra, Jiny Príbeh," "Je Tam"), warped rock-in-opposition songs ("Ráno, Porád"), and more straightforward rock numbers ("Ohnivá Voda" recalls J.J. Neduha's music of the same period). The absence of Topol's hammered piano chords opens up the sound spectrum for the other musicians, resulting in more room for saxophonist Jirí Jelínek and guitarist Ludek Horky. Unlike some of Psí Vojáci's other albums from that period, Sestra truly sounds like a group effort, thanks to the rock drive running through it. Listeners looking for Filip Topol the singer/songwriter could feel disoriented here. Fans of Plastic People of the Universe, Extempore, or even Uz Jsme Doma might consider Sestra to be the group's best effort of the decade.
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