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Leb I Sol - Kao Kakao CD (album) cover


Leb I Sol

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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4 stars This is Leb I Sol's most succesful album from the 80's. It became a great hit in Yugoslavia, specially songs like the title song, "Cuvam noc od budnih", "Cekam kisu" and "Mamurni ljudi". There are jazz and folk influences, notably in "Cekam kisu" which opens with the sound of Scottish pipes (played by a Scottish musician of course!) and "Mamurni ljudi", which contains one of Vlatko Stefanovski's best jazz solos and is one of their best songs. "Femme fatale" is a cooperation with Arsen Dedic, the great lyricist and composer from Croatia. With words from Dedic and music from Stefanovski it is a truly memorable song.

This album deals with urban themes such as love, midlife crisis and loneliness (like in "Cuvam noc od budnih"). Almost every song is a potential hit. This is the album where Stefanovski assumed almost full creative control, giving Bodan Arsovski only one songwriting credit, on "Autoput" which is perhaps the weakest song here. A notable work from one of the ultimate Yugoslav bands.

Report this review (#39725)
Posted Monday, July 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This album was a major commercial success of LEB i SOL.

In 1986 the original drummer Tavitijan returned to the group while the line-up was augmented by a full-time sax player Goce Micanov and a keyboardist Kiril Dzajkovski, with female back vocals Bebi Dol and Ana Kostovska. They (meaning: Stefanovski) decided, however, to change the style completely, abandoning the jazz/prog elements in favour of mainstream pop/rock with slick production (Stefanovski, Arsovski and B. Zafirovski) and sophisticated laid-back crossover sound, much like what Sting was doing then.

There are none instrumentals on "Kao kakao" (Eng. Like Cocoa), all 9 tracks are vocal, which is surely to disappoint old fans of their fusion virtuosity, knowing that the "singing" tracks had often been of lesser quality on the previous albums. This album can easily be listened by average wider public without much problems, but proggies...? It depends. You might be well bored to hell trying to listen to it, but equally you may enjoy its good production, non-pretentious pop songs and decent playing.

There are several plain dull songs, a fruitless attempt at basic rock'n'roll with some terrible arena/metal guitar riffs and choruses (a la Bon Jovi) supported by those annoying synths, which I simply love to hate. Good moments are two smooth ballads "Femme Fatale" and "Cuvam noc od budnih", a catchy Macedonian lyrics/party hit "Skopje" and the closing Celtic/ambient "Cekam kisu" with bagpipes (guest Ronnie Wathen) having a sensation of Gabriel solo albums.

Overall this would be around 2,5 stars! Not recommended for exclusively prog orthodoxy.

Report this review (#39744)
Posted Monday, July 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Well, basically, this album consists of 80's-style-guitar driven pop, with catchy choruses and occasional spices of prog.

Like the most bends that started their careers in 70's and continued in 80's, LEB I SOL got two sides: 70's progressive and 80's pop. This was the biggest success of band in the 80's and actually it is not that bad, especially considering the fact that was released in 1987. Many big names have fallen much deeper that year.

I have to admit that this album was one of my favourites when I was a kid, I just loved the tunes. Now I am able to appreciate the other side, so let's see the highlights if there's any:

"Cekam Kisu" (I'm Waiting For The Rain) is definitely the peak of the album, and basically it's only track of interest for a prog fan. As you can imagine, it's not prog for the sake of being prog since that genre wasn't popular any more in that are. Therefore, it's an excellent tune where the soundscapes are giving the lively description of heat, dry earth, with counterpoint on criticism of society, implicitly referred in lyrics.

"Cuvam noc od budnih" is a lovely ballad with slightly jazzy overtones. "Autoput" is a simple rocker, but one of my favourite driving songs.

"Mamurni ljudi" and "Kao Kakao" are perhaps the best examples what this album is about. Pop tunes with skillful guitar parts. Maybe the best example for comparison is JETHRO TULL's "Crest Of A Knave". Don't get me wrong, these two albums do not have anything in common-considering the musical style or sound. But the ratio between "progressiveness" of the old albums and the mantioned onea is equal. High quality pop-tunes with proggy guitars. "Kao Kakao" lacks the flute, but it's more catchy.

Report this review (#100011)
Posted Thursday, November 23, 2006 | Review Permalink

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