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Skaldowie - Wszystko Mi Mówi, Ze Mnie Ktoś Pokochał CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.22 | 23 ratings

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2 stars Perhaps the least cohesive album in Skaldowie's catalogue. At this point, the band's charming eclecticism almost turned to chaos. One has to dive very deep to find a couple of proto-prog or even prog gems among all those more or less contemporary pop ditties, occasionally drawing on Polish folklore or so called sung poetry tradition, but it might be worth diving.

There is some improvement over the debut on the production level, but miracles this is not. The rhythm section is more prominent in the mix (brand new bassist Konrad Ratyński and not so new drummer Jan Budziaszek hit it off on the spot and proved the key elements to the future sound of the group), and there seem to be different layers, but on the whole the sound is still flat and muddy, which is especially regrettable in the case of Zapomniany Młyn (A Forgotten Mill), where the subtleties of arrangements do not quite come across. The arrangements on this album are as elaborate as on the debut, but there is one drawback: at least half of the songs feature back-up singers Alibabki. Their obtrusive vocals obviously distance the proceedings even further from art-rock, and while adding a somewhat surreal touch to the psychedelic Sen Dla Mojej Dziewczyny (A Dream For My Girlfriend), they completely ruin the otherwise nice tongue-in-cheek Christmas carol Będzie Kolęda (There'll Be a Carol) . Also the opening, titular track (Everything Is Telling Me Someone Has Fallen In Love With Me), on its own a perfect pop-rock melody deservedly reaching the evergreen status in Poland, is rendered almost ridiculous by the girls (an Alibabki-less, much more rocking version can be found on Cisza Krzyczy - Live in Leningrad). Skaldowie open their contemporary gigs with this very song, by the way.

There are two or three tracks of prog provenance on the album. Nie Całuj Mnie Pierwsza (Don't Be the First One to Kiss). Disguised as humorous, this is in fact a serious though mild attack on the contemporary free-love standards, contrasted here with the patient and faithful love of old, symbolised by "Grandma Ludwika", a classical music lover. The lyrics are aptly illustrated with a truly art-(ba)rock arrangement, quoting from Mozart and Haendel, with prominent Jacek Zieliński's trumpet. A four-second piano link between the main verse and the bridge sounds like a Mad Man Moon excerpt, only the Skaldowie song is eight years older! Still, there is even a better song on the album: Zawołam Na Pomoc Wszystkie Ptaki (I'm Going To Call All the Birds For Help). The song effortlessly manages the different musical traditions of Cuiavian folklore and the Greek pentatonic scale as well as Budziaszek's jazz-flavoured snare-drum. The track is also a showcase for some untrivial harmonising by the Zieliński brothers, though paradoxically the song's finest moment comes with Jacek low vocal duplicating Andrzej's octave-higher one. Undaunted by the experimental nature of the song and its unstable time-signature, the melody remains extremely catchy. The aforementioned Zapomniany Młyn, though marred by the production, is a welcome eerie counterpoint to the lesser poppy tracks with its harpsichord-laden dark aura and, again, unexpected vocal rendition by Jacek and Andrzej Zieliński.

Out of the non-prog tracks, two are almost impeccable. One actually is, for that matter, but not in the version presented here. Sen Dla Mojej Dziewczyny is a rare example of a dreamy, almost druggy atmosphere in the Skaldowie catalogue. It would have been a perfect song but for some shortcomings, this time in the arrangement, not the mix, which is surprisingly working on different planes (note the beautiful remote violins). The tempo is a little too slow, and the lead vocal unnecessarily double-tracked and histrionic. Fortunately, there is a "radio version", with a more restrained vocal from Jacek, a sharper cello licks and the right pace (it was included on the Ballads album, now out of print, hopefully it will find a way to the box-set solely consisting of radio versions of Skaldowie's songs, due to be released at the end of 2008). Na Wirsycku (At the Mountain Top) is another Podhale folklore inspired track, much as Uciekaj Uciekaj from the debut album, albeit with in a more upbeat vein and with tongue-in-cheek lyrics. An absolute classic, in my opinion, with the characteristic echo-imitating vocals in the bridge, and a fantastic fierce fuzz guitar solo replicating the fiddle part nominally featured at that point. It must be stressed that, as the author Andrzej Zieliński pointed out, for all the resemblance to a happy highlanders' song, this is an original melody. I guess that it is also adorned with some guitar licks lifted from boogie-woogie tradition, only slowed down.

Dwudzieste Szóste Marzenie (The 26th Dream) is a very well written and very bad sounding fast rock number (a far superior radio version devoid of the horrible organ is to be found this time on Anthology). The remaining tracks have either little or nothing to do with rock, let alone prog-rock. Śpiewam Bo Muszę (I Sing 'Cos I Must) is perhaps the best of them, notable for very powerful vocals by Jacek in the choruses. The least rocking song, Wspólny Jest Nasz Swiat (We Have Our World In Common), is remarkable only for some unexpected melisma ("i ni-i-i-i-i-ic"), perhaps pitifully wasted in such a context. The final track Czy Jeszcze Zdążę (Will I Make It On Time) is the only one not penned by Andrzej Zieliński, and frankly I can hardly find a single reason in it for such merit.

Two stars and a half. If Sen Dla Mojej Dziewczyny was featured here in the radio version it would be three.

gero | 2/5 |


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