Filip Topol


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What's the difference between a legit album by the group Psí Vojáci and a solo CD by their leader, Filip Topol? Very little it seems, since Sakramilácku features the same musicians (drummer David Skála, saxophonist Jirí Jelínek, and bassist Ludek Horky). Maybe the difference resides in the fact that Topol calls all the shots while there is usually a group decision process involved. In any case, this solo album, his first, ranks well in his discography, as it offers a nice set of songs, particularly intense. About half the tracks feature his ornamented piano playing, the others include synthesizers. The album opens with "C'Est Très...," with lyrics written in a stew of French, English, and Czech. The last lines -- "Je serai le mort à la vie (I will be the dead at life)/This is the lettre (letter)/And see you later" -- establish the perturbed mood and the loose subject of the album. Each track presents itself like a postcard, the milestone of a journey. The second piece, "Divka Odjezdu," introduces the musical leitmotiv that will resurface in each of the last four tracks. Lasting 13 minutes, this song consists of an impassioned piano theme backed only by a straightforward drum pattern and text partly sung, partly read. Here Topol gives a potent example of his wide emotional range, from a cold, distant tone to atavistic grunts and howls -- he strongly recalls Peter Hammill -- but the track is simply too long in the end (especially for non-Czech listeners). The leitmotiv also becomes tiresome in the second half of the album, even though it is approached from different angles. Nevertheless, Sakramilácku comes through as a strong, convincing effort.