I have a new review up at Blurt of Caves, the latest album from Czech prog collective Us Jsme Doma.
The long-running Už Jsme Doma has been through a quarter century of mayhem, beginning its intricately-plotted, anarchically-energized career in then Soviet-dominated Czechoslovakia. Early on, the band played in secret, risked imprisonment and joined in resistance efforts to form a more democratic state. Then, post-glasnost, they emerged onto a larger, international stage, touring Europe and the United States and once, serving as backing band for American art eccentrics, the Residents.
Now, 11 albums and hoards of members later (Pepe Cervinka is the band's ninth bassist), the band careens on. No founders remain. The last remaining original member was saxophonist Jindra Dolansky, and he left in 2001. Yet under the direction of longtime singer, songwriter and lyricist Miroslav Wanek, Už Jsme Doma plots a high-intensity, exotically complex course. It's prog from Prague, certainly, but there are also hints of marching band music, workingmen's chants, jazz, folk and even early 20th century classical music in these hard-to-categorize tunes.