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Smak - Smak CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.42 | 33 ratings

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3 stars A very good and popular group from Kragujevac, Serbia, originally named Gentry and formed around friends Radomir Mihajlović Točak (guitars) and Slobodan Stojanovic Kepa (drums).Next to join the group were bassist Zoran Milanovic and singer Slobodan "Koma" Kominac, while the line-up was completed with Misa Nikolic on Hammond organ.After kicking off as a cover band, the first original tracks brought and a change of name to Smak.Several line-up changes and a couple of short breaks later, while struggling to find a steady fan base, only Mihajlovic, Milanovic and Stojanovic remained from the original core, which by 1974 included Boris Aranđelović on vocals and Laza Ristovski on keyboards.A far better period followed with the first single of the group, lives next to Bijelo Dugme and Pop Masina, while they opened for Deep Purple during their venue in Belgrade in March 1975.Signed by ZKP RTLJ, they recorded a couple of more singles and their self-titled debut saw the light in the second half of 1975.

The diversity and talent of the group becomes clear already during the first few songs.While not very proggy, the tracks of the opening side offer inspiring, melodic and well-executed compositions with Classic Rock, Blues and psychedelic influences, highlighted by Mihajlovic'es incredible guitar workouts and Arandelovic'es crystalline voice.Keyboards help a lot by adding an excellent depth with mostly some great organ work, while the second tracks features some very GENTLE GIANT-like parts on clavinet.Very important is the fact that most of these pieces contain plenty of room for instrumental exercises, while the vocal parts are absolutely harmonic and expressive.The highlight is definitely ''Biska 2'' (dating from the group's early days), where the guitar work of Mihajlovic trully shines.From the decent compositions of the first side we turn to the excellence of the sidelong track ''Put od balona'', clocking at 19 minutes and covering the whole flipside.With links to the sound of TAKO and inspirations from KORNI GRUPA, this is a fantastic piece of Symphonic Rock with Folk and jazzy breaks, featuring rich instrumental themes, tightly connected movements and a well-synchronized sound overall.The psychedelic side of the group is not completely gone, but ''Put od balona'' is definitely built on keyboards to a higher deegree, twisting from smooth, melodic lines with symphonic leanings to more frenetic Fusion-like textures with impressive guitar solos and a loose attitude as a whole.Among the very best epics of ex-Yugoslavian Progressive Rock.

There is a CD reissue around by ZKP RTLJ, featuring material composed for the early and later singles of Smak along with a rock interpretation of a Scopian Folk song.Influenced by acts such as DEEP PURPLE and JIMI HENDRIX, these tracks move on a Heavy/Psych/Blues Rock field with edgy guitar and organ parts, but melody is always present.''Zajdi, zajdi'' though, the aforementioned Folk piece, is more than impressive.Based on the melancholic guitar of Mihajlovic and the atmospheric synthesizers, this ends up to be a highlight of Smak's early recordings and a good reason to chase the reissue.

A really nice album, among the goodies of Serbian Prog.The sidelong track alone deserves your attention, but the rest of the material is also good, albeit a bit far from the exceptional style of ''Put od balona''.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

apps79 | 3/5 |


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