Ty Sycáci

Lék a Jed

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From '50s rockabilly to '90s grunge, English has long been rock's dominant language. However, rock doesn't necessarily have to be performed in English. The rock en español phenomenon is huge in Latin America, and even though many German and Scandinavian rockers have opted to write in English exclusively, there are also European rockers who record in languages that range from French to Polish. The post-communist Czech Republic is full of Czech rockers who perform in their own language and cater to Czech audiences; one of them is the very risk-taking Ty Sycáci, whose second album, Lék a Jed, is representative of the more eccentric, avant-garde side of Czech rock. Because all of the lyrics are in Czech, some English-speaking listeners will inevitably shy away from this CD. And that is a shame because even if one doesn't speak a single word of Czech, Lék a Jed (Medicine and Poison in English) still has an interesting, intriguing sound -- one that could be described as Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention meets punk and alternative rock (minus traditional drums) with elements of East European folk. It's an unlikely mixture, but one that works well. Only those who speak Czech will understand the lyrics that are coming out of lead singer/founder Petr Vása's mouth; however, one need not speak Czech to realize that he is bringing a great deal of feeling and emotion to them. And one needn't understand Czech to appreciate Ty Sycáci's bizarre, twisted sense of melody. Like the late Frank Zappa, this trio can be quite self-indulgent. But one could excuse -- or even enjoy -- Zappa's excesses because he was so darn creative, and the same goes Ty Sycáci. Despite the trio's tendency to be self-indulgent, Lék a Jed is an engaging slice of avant-rock.

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