Psí Vojáci

Tezko Rict

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Tezko Rict (which translates to "Hard to Tell") is a very strong album, Psí Vojáci's best at least since 1999's Mysi v Poli. Filip Topol is once again witty, ferocious at the piano (he doesn't play the piano, he fights it), his singing mysterious, and resolutely off-beat, as always. Still accompanied by his trusty rhythm section of Ludek Horky and David Skála, he delivers an addictive batch of songs. The writing is less pompous than on previous albums, less overtly "classical." Tracks like "Napsal Jsem Písen," "Kabátky Deravy," and the title track deserve to have a place in the group's live set; they have all the right elements in the right places: strong delivery, massive chords, and unexpected twists. Jan Hazuka contributes a bit of Spanish guitar, Michal Gera puts in a touch or two of trumpet and flugelhorn, and Tomas Schilla's cello is put to good use, but for the most part, Tezko Rict is a trio affair. After 25 years of active life, we don't ask Psí Vojáci to surprise us, only to stick to strong songwriting, but this album still packs two nice surprises. The first one is "Musantet," a quirky half-Czech, half-French song. The second is "Jezura" ("Anteater"), an 18-minute epic, more like a tone poem. Just a bit overlong, it nonetheless features some excellent jamming from the musicians, including creative bass playing from Horky, and relentless chord rolling from Topol. After the lukewarm U Sousedu Vyje Pes, and the downright disappointing Slecna Kristyna, it's good to hear this enduring group back in top creative shape.

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