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Ska Z Ceska / Ska from Czech Republic

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Album Review

Ska z Ceska: ska from the Czechs. That's what this album is all about: sizzling hot third wave ska, in the purest Toasters/Planet Smashers/Mephiskapheles fashion — except that the lyrics are in Czech. Since lyrics have never been a forte of the genre, it shouldn't bother ska aficionados too much. Tleskac is a big-sounding ten-piece band, with a four-headed brass section, guitarist, keyboardist, drummer, bassist/male singer, and two female singers. They have mastered the genre down to its finest details, from the Speedo-tight horn cues to the cheesy organ solos, the walking bass parts, and pogo-inducing rhythm guitar. The Czech language is slightly cluttered when it comes to fast-paced lyrics, but Jirka Sykora rolls through them convincingly, their tumbling emphasizing the mad action and sheer excitement of the music. Ska is prone to quote other genres, and Tleskac knows it. Bits of Czech folk are woven into the fabric here and there, and the group launches into the main theme from Edvard Grieg's well-known In the Hall of the Mountain King, a chunk off the classical repertoire that has been revisited to death by American bands. Then again, such clichés are part of the entertainment ska provides, and this group deeply understands its inner workings. Czech alternative rock tends to be heavy, even when the music is upbeat. It has to do with the sonorities of the Czech language and an unnatural love for the bass guitar. This album is no exception, so expect a slightly harder-hitting form of ska than what is usual. The singers lack a bit of character, but the music is genuine third wave ska and very well executed. Recommended. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Ska Z Ceska / Ska from Czech Republic, Tleskac
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