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Hobo - Hobo CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.55 | 25 ratings

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3 stars Another one-and-done band, a curse that afflicted many prog related acts who only blessed us with a single lonely album, Yugoslavian band Hobo, despite supporting the likes of Deep Purple, disappeared soon after releasing their one self-titled disc, and a strong collection of melodic 70's rock it was too. Despite the album being released in 1975, it had more in common with the proto-prog bands rather than offering full-blown progressive workouts, but that doesn't mean there's nothing to appreciate and enjoy with it's mix of jazz, blues and R&B with soft proggy touches. Perhaps the band were a little hesitant to fully commit to playing in an extended progressive rock style, but more likely it's that they were an adventurous rock band who simply wanted to tick as many boxes as possible, or were trying to actually work out what direction to head in while they were going along.

Musician Mato Dosan in particular, on keyboards and guitar, is a real standout on the album, offering a variety of progressive flourishes throughout. The frantic tempo of `Druzenje' is highlighted by his repetitive electric piano and spacey Moog runs with Sasa Cavric's thick murky bass bringing an almost Zeuhl intensity to this brief instrumental introduction that doesn't even run two minutes. `Prijatelju' opens as a mellow piano-led ballad over Boris Trubic's gentle congas, soothing yet confident lead vocals (no idea who is singing here, as four of the five members are all credited to vocals on the LP sleeve) before bursting to life in a furious up-tempo blast with searing Kansas/FM-styled electric violin from Josip Belamaric and phasing synth panning between the speakers within snappy time-changes. `Dijete' begins as a gradually building piano/violin duel that could have come from an early Curved Air album before settling into a gently jazzy vocal groover with a smoothly improvised middle that lets Mato's guitars take flight with some tasteful soloing. `Sretan Kraj' is a pleasing short mid-tempo pop/rocker that teases a jazzy piano send-off at the end only to rapidly fade out.

Conga and scratchy violin surges around `Raskrsce', a furious panning Moog race reprised several times and takes the place of a vocal chorus, with Mladin Garasic's attacking drumming holding it all together. Sadly what instrumentally holds promise through `Postajem Lud' - disorientating synth quirkiness and slinky bass grooves from Sasa Cavric - is ruined by some awful comical call-and-response female vocals from one of the fellas in the band! `Srebo' picks the quality up again and provides the strongest progressive rock moment on the disc, an eastern flavoured droning instrumental with downbeat piano, moody wah/wah guitars, a pounding staccato drumbeat that gradually builds in hypnotic urgency, humming synths with a lovely brief trilling Moog solo in the middle and moody wordless group sighs. Despite nice piano and violin throughout, `Ha-Re-Ho' is a somewhat annoying commercial piece with a repetitive and almost cringe-worthy gospel- like singalong chorus, but thankfully `Cuj Me' closes the album in a more somber and dramatically satisfying manner, a downbeat and gloomy piano/vocal ballad.

Several lost Yugloslavian prog-related albums have recently been given a series of reissues on both CD and LP, and with artists such as Oko, Kornelyans, Yu Grupa, Korni Grupa and more, there's really been some hidden gems to rediscover, this one no exception.`Hobo' makes for a very respectable addition to the collection of easy-going fans who are perfectly happy to unwind to well played, lightly-prog influenced rock, and the band should be proud of this fine little effort.

Three stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 3/5 |


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