Psí Vojáci

Mysi v Poli a Jiné Príbehy

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After the perplexing and claustrophobic Horící Holubi, Mysi v Poli a Jiné Príbehy felt like a breath of fresh air. This album finds Psí Vojáci coming back to its roots: songwriting. The title translates to "Mice in Fields and Other Stories," emphasizing the return to song format without much of an overlaying concept. Piano, bass, drums, an occasional line of saxophone from Jirí Jelínek, and Filip Topol's haunting vocals: That's all there is to it, and it works perfectly, turning this CD into one of the group's strongest efforts. The singer has found a new seam, his lyrics reaching an emotional depth he rarely surpassed ("Krasobruslar" and "A Mluvil Hlas" are two fine examples). Brother Jáchym Topol contributed a poem, the closer "Sou Pastyri." If the texts are good, the music is better. The group has returned to its chanson/prog rock vein, Topol's piano churning Beethoven-like themes, modulating when you least expect it. If the three-part instrumental "Malá Zimní Hubda" feels a bit overindulgent, "Krasobruslar," the rocking "Pank -- Zamyslení," the title track, and the scorching ballad "A Mluvil Hlas" match most of the group's previous repertoire. Psí Vojáci is most effective when Topol doesn't try too hard. Mysi v Poli a Jiné Príbehy is simple, direct, seducing, like Peter Hammill's best albums from the '90s.

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