... Opilí Potmechutí..

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The fall of communism throughout Eastern Europe in the late '80s and early '90s had a major impact on popular music in that part of the world. It meant more concerts by visiting artists from the United States and Great Britain; it also meant that healthy pop music scenes would flourish in countries like Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. Indies Records, a small label based in Brno, Czech Republic, has been documenting the Czech pop scene since 1990 -- and Disneyband's Opilí Potmechutí has no problem living up to the company's generally high standards. Hearing the name Disneyband, some non-Czech listeners might expect to hear something fun and frivolous -- perhaps a Czech version of the Spice Girls or Britney Spears. But Opilí Potmechutí is far from that. Disneyband -- a male/female vocal duo consisting of Martin Kadlec (who plays acoustic guitar in addition to singing) and female artist Verka Soukupová -- favors a sophisticated, often moody style of Czech folk-pop. Disneyband brings a variety of influences to the table -- not only other Czech artists, but also everything from jazz to Joni Mitchell. And the Mitchell influence isn't unusual for a modern Czech group; her work has influenced a fair amount of Czech artists (contemporary rather than traditional) in the '90s and 2000s. Anyone who has enjoyed Tara Fuki and Raduza -- two similar groups that have also recorded for Indies -- should have no problem getting into haunting tracks like "Se Shakespearean pod Perinou" and "Podvodnik." Indies has provided a lyric sheet, which won't make any difference to non-Czech-speaking listeners because all of the lyrics are in that language. But one needn't understand a word of Czech to find this CD musically appealing and realize that Disneyband has a lot of potential.

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