Noi's eponymous debut is the quintessential Czech folk-pop record: radio-friendly melodies, acoustic instrumentation (including flute), lavish production. Beauty reigns over bite, feeling over originality. Noi may not have anything new to offer, but the five-piece group plays endearing tunes. Singer Petr Wagner and (acoustic) guitarist Petr Capek co-wrote all 11 songs. Their music relies on guitar-strumming folk laced with pastoral elements, either in the melodies or through Pavel Krizovensky's flute lines. Sadly, Honza Sklenicka's cello is slightly underused in the arrangements. Ivan Kudrna rounds up the core of the band, adding light hand percussion. Several guests appear throughout, including a drummer for two songs, a violinist (also two), and two bassists (for a total of seven tracks). They ensure a certain level of diversity in the arrangements, but nowhere is there an escalation in the group's sound. Wagner has a pleasant voice, but it lacks the kind of appeal (or uniqueness) that would allow it to transcend the language barrier. Luckily, the arrangements compensate. Tracks like "Za Nocí" and "Mesíc," among others, have an acoustic Jethro Tull flavor, with a touch of Vladimír Veít thrown in -- the latter's influence appears to be at the heart of "Srpen." Noi is not something to write home about, but since it doesn't pretend to be anything else than enjoyable contemporary folk-pop, it works out quite nicely.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture