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The Plastic People of the Universe - Egon Bondy's Happy Hearts Club Banned CD (album) cover


The Plastic People of the Universe



3.95 | 35 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
5 stars It's really worth it to check out the history of this band and to read what they went through for the sake of playing the music they loved. They were jailed to be made an example of for playing live and they were never allowed to record their music, although recordings were smuggled out the country.They really are folk heroes in the Czech Republic for standing up to the communist regime. When communism fell the new President Vaclav Havel invited them to play a concert. How the times had changed. They named themselves in part from a Zappa tune called "Plastic People".They were big fans of his style of play including the humour. I would describe the music here as having this relentless and catchy drum / bass beat/rhythm that often reminds me of CAN. The difference is the often dissonant sax, guitar and violin that plays over top. Vocals are rough and almost spoken in their own language, but it fits the style of music perfectly. I love the cover picture that includes Czech poet Egon Bondy who's words are used throughout this album, he himself had his poems and writings banned by the communist government back then too.

"Twenty" features sax and violin with slowly sung lyrics. Crazy sax before 1 1/2 minutes. "Constipation" has this eerie intro as a rhythm comes in followed by vocals. It picks up before 3 minutes then settles again as sax joins in and rips it up. Amazing ! The vocals are back 7 1/2 minutes. "Toxic Chemicals" has a good rhythm with vocals.The guitar is making some noise after 1 1/2 minutes as the rhythm continues with violin. So good ! "Magical Nights" opens with loud percussion as spacey sounds join in. A change after 1 1/2 minutes as it picks up with vocals. Violin comes in screeching before 2 1/2 minutes. Love this stuff. "M.G.M." has these theatrical vocal expressions and some banging sounds. "Around The Window" opens with bass and percussion as sax comes in screaming. Almost spoken vocals before 3 minutes.The sax is back so loud it echoes.Vocals are back late and the violin ends it. "Elegy" features violin which is joined by a heavy beat then vocals.

"The Wondrous Mandarin" has this crazy rhythm as violin plays over top. Vocals join in. "Nobody" has this great sounding rhythm and it kicks in quickly. Vocals before a minute. The violin starts making noise in the background. "Oh Yeah- How Nicely You Sleep" has clapping, piano and vocals early on. Funny stuff. This is hilarious. Snoring ends it. "Me And Mike" is raw sounding and dissonant.Vocals join in, sax late. "Early Bird" sounds so good with the guitar,violin and vocals. "Fancovka" is catchy with vocals, a beat and guitar. Violin later. The sax is killer. "By One Foot" has a beat with violin and sax playing over top. Nice. "Sofa Blues" has a beat with spoken words. It gets fuller. So incredible. "Apocalyptic Bird" opens with spoken words then it kicks in. Vocals follow, and the sax a minute later is dissonant. Amazing stuff. Check out the slicing violin too. "Conscript's Song" ends it in style. Spoken words as percussion then therimin that is possessed joins in. A beat with violin follows then vocals 2 minutes in as he spits out the words.The tempo picks up a minute later. It then settles back as some themes are repeated.

Without a doubt one of the better Rio / Avant albums i've heard. It's so appealing with that beat and rhythm that i'm consantly tapping my foot or some part of my body, and yet it's also very Avant-garde with those insane horns and violins. Essential listening.

Mellotron Storm | 5/5 |


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