Cestující v Noci

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The music of Michal Nemec's group is rooted in pop, with touches of folk and jazz often added. The result used to be somewhat unclassifiable and daring, but on the 2003 offering Cestující v Noci, it falls flat on excitement and deserves to end in Czech adult pop discount bins. Fans from abroad will find little reason to acquire this one. That being said, Cestující v Noci is a sleek album, very well produced (maybe even over-produced) and nicely packaged, but it doesn't transcend its professionalism. Its best feature resides in the revolving cast of female singers duetting with Nemec on most songs. Iva Bittová, by far the best known of the bunch outside the Czech Republic, contributes wordless vocals to two pieces. "Smutná" is a yearning tune, a highlight of the disc, but her fake operatic alto in "Vítezná" is painful at the very least. Singer/accordionist Raduza does a better job in the five songs she contributes to her "angry teenager" delivery, providing a nice contrast to Nemec's low, disabused voice (Tom Waits having lost his sense of indignation). She sings on the other two pieces above average, "Stmíváni" and "Na Troskách." The other guest singers are Zuzana Homolová and Barbora Hrzánová. The latter delivers an accurately sensual "narrative" in "Bledemodry Cerven," heavily influenced by Serge Gainsbourg's "Je T'Aime" (it even borrows its opening motif). Average, very average.

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