Už Jsme Doma - Uprostred Slov (In The Middle Of Words)

Year of Release: 1998
Label: Skoda
Catalog Number: SK0012-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 39:39:00

Czechoslovakian band Už Jsme Doma (oozh smeh dough-ma, where oozh is like "rouge") could be classified as experimental rather than progressive, but truly defy any one category. In some ways, their sound hews closer to punk, at least in spirit. Given the political climate in Czechoslovakia and other parts of Europe in 1985, when they formed, making this kind of music was an act of defiance. The band itself has had a long history, with members poping in and out. Although their music had been distributed via Western radio and by smuggled tapes, this album was their first, released in the Czech Republic in 1990, and recently re-released here in the US (1998).

It is a quirky kind of music, with the full, rich, jazz like element of saxophones, tenor and alto. The disk begins with chime-like tones over chant like vocals. This is dark, and yet hints at religious music. Well, more than hints - it's called "Amen." Yet, this gives way to those deep brass tones and shouted vocals. I'd call this avant-jazz or speed-jazz. All of which gives it a decidedly rock feel. I've seen comparisons to Frank Zappa.

There is a certain amount of eccentricity and ferventness to this; a punk like feel at times, too. And that's all in the first track! Even with the darker themes, their exuberance is invigorating, and some of the instrumentation and arrangements are downright entertaining.

The album ... well, I haven't quite got as far and ferreting out the message - though I can pretty much gather that there is socio-political commentary. Although the vocals are in Czech, the lyrics are printed in both Czech and English - there really aren't lyrics as such, but rather phrases, ideas, statements. The title track's subject or sentiment needs no translation - the impersonal military establishment. "In the middle of soldiers, the person is alone" - just one more piece of arsenal, of hardware; expendible because there are more.

Really, there's something for everyone here. A bit of King Crimson influence, most noticable on "Telefon," a track that would also appeal to the progressive metal listener.

This may not be the album you put on when you want to relax, or are in the mood for keyboard washes and melodies, but it is an interesting album, that draws you into repeated listens.

I'll have to admit that the vocals aren't great, but they do add character to the music. A smoother voiced vocalist would take away from the honesty and sincerity of the music.

Included with this US release is a bonus, live disk recorded in Vancouver, British Columbia in November 1997, which features tracks from various stages of their career.

If you like offbeat, unusual, avant-guard music, then Už Jsme Doma should appeal to you. I know I like it.

Ámen - Jó Nebo Nebo/Amen - Yeah Or Or (5:58) / Julecek/Little Julius (3:23) / Telefón/Telephone (3:26) / Uprostred Slov/In The Middle of Words (3:00) / Díte/Child (4:02) / Fíkus/Rubber Tree (5:56) / Sousedká/Neighborly (3:22) / Sopot (4:32) / Soubor Opatrení/New Progress Regulations (4:12) / Mek Medu/Mack Madoo (3:49) Santrucek/Shantrooczech (1:38) / Kreslak/Glam Leather (2:21)

Miroslav Wanek - vocals, guitar, piano, and lyrics
Romek Hanzlik - guitar
Jindra Dolanský - tenor sax and vocals
Pavel Kerka - bass*
Alice Kalousková - alto sax
Pavel Pavlicek - drums


Slávek Neuhöfer - violin (1, 3, 7)
Petr N´j - flute (2)
Martin Chrencík - acoustic guitar (2)
Jaroslav Cuachovec - bag pipe (8)

Uprostred Slov/In The Middle Of Words (1990/1998)
Nemilovaný Svet/Unloved World (1992/1997)
Hollywood (1993/1996)
Poh´:dky Ze Zapotrebi/Fairytales From Needland (1995/1997)
Jaro, Peklo, Podzim, Zima/Spring, Hell, Fall, Winter (1996)
Usi/Ears (1999)
Rybi Tuk (Cod Liver Oil) (2003) 20 Letu (20 Flights/Years) - Live From Archa (2005)
Caves (2010)

20 Letu (20 Flyears) / Puding (Pudding) (2DVD) (2006)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin CZ

Added: November 17th 1999
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.uzjsmedoma.com
Hits: 988
Language: english


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