Psí Vojáci

Psi a Vojáci/Baroko v Cechách/Studio 1983-85

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This 3-CD set culls the three earliest "albums" by Psí Vojáci, in remastered sound, and packaged with lyrics and liner notes. Psi a Vojáci was recorded live in November 1980, except for three songs taken from the group's first live appearance on November 3, 1979. Singer/pianist Filip Topol was only 15 years old. The group (drummer David Skála, bassist Jan Hazuka and guitarist Vit Kruta) lacks tightness but displays an already commendable energy on stage, with Topol hammering the keys and screaming: desperate to prove his point against the Communist state. A 45-minute version of this concert was circulating on illegal cassettes and was properly released on cassette in 1991; this edition adds 25 minutes of extra music. It includes the songs "Psí Vojáci" and "Psi a Vojáci" -- essential documents -- and exhibits the most punkish attitude the group has probably displayed in its long career. Baroko v Cechách is a studio recording from 1982 (Pavel Cigánek replaces Kruta) mainly consisting of a long musical setting of a mystic short story by Jáchym Topol. Calmer, more detailed and intimate, these songs already give a clearer indication of what the group will evolve into. Topol screams less but sings with passion, often evoking Peter Hammill. This album also circulated illegally before being properly released on cassette in 1993. This edition adds 15 minutes of extra material. Studio 1983-86 was recorded in 1985 (the title refers to the period during which this particular repertoire was performed) and adds guitarist Jaroslav Fensterer to the lineup. This one had not been officially released yet, and contains several strong songs, including some set to poems by Sylvia Plath and Filip Topol's first efforts as lyricist. Sound quality on the two studio discs is usually very good (the master tapes had a few irreparable blemishes), the live disc is more of a fan-only affair, but in any case this set remains essential to understand the beginnings of this fascinating band.