The first few notes of the first and last songs tell us the most important things about the new album from the group Poletíme? Beginning with sharp guitars, a rock roar and lyrics about how “we sat with the boys backstage” and “we’re good, so we probably need a hit”. At the end a waltz with accordion, sloppy vocals and words about a disgruntled band, of homelessness and of a car “that carries sheep”. Songs full of rock energy of course are part of Poletíme? and this group has a whole range of hits. Nonetheless the move from sharp rock and roll to a comfortable little waltz shows the band with Rudolf Brančovský exactly how I see them after these years: Despite all their efforts to be tough guys they are at their best when telling an ordinary story, with interesting observed details (like that of the sheep in the car) and in an ordinary song. And it is also about the humour which again abounds on the new album. And I have the feeling that this time more than before Rudolf has managed to keep the balance outside the area of awkwardness.
I can also see one more shift. If still in the context of the previous album – and there were some strong songs on it! – I drew attention to poor accents and difficulty with intonation, this time it seems that the group has managed to slightly tone down these shortcomings. Their sound is still slightly dirty and “punk”, but the group, working with producer Jiří Topol Novotný, has managed to balance the minor imperfections with a good and above all natural sound. And particularly Poletíme? are constantly improving their choruses.
Between the first song of the desire for a hit and the last in which the group apparently – but truly only apparently – gives up on a serious hit and disgruntled bids farewell on their Facebook page, website and Instagram, this time we can find one hit after another. There is for example the brisk country-style Pochod žížal (March of the Worms) with a swinging violin interlude. A real trip in the style of the Pogues Tři kámošky psycholožky (Three Psychologist Friends), in which punk directness is balanced by wonderfully arranged vocals. The nonsense tale with a moral Nahá paní (Naked Lady) about a queen who – see, Brančovský’s poetry! – “flaps her feet”. The unique confession Moja mama (My Mum), reminiscent of the “romani” album of the group Buty. Or White Trash, funk with a strong bass line in the style of Gulo čar with a quote from Michal David. Another borrowing from a famous song appears – yes, the name tells us – in Dajána. I see the culmination of the album in the excellently constructed song (yes, a hit) Dřevěný, železný, kamenný (Wood, Iron, Stone). On the other hand I see as less musically inspired Naopak jako hudebně méně nápaditého vnímám Upír vegetarian (Vegetarian Vampire) and a bit too much is possibly Píseň o plynu (Gas Song), where its plaintive refrain “Ho, ho, ho … fart” once more reminds me of some of the Dadaist songs by Buty.
The fact that in the previous lines I have mentioned several groups whose work the new Poletíme? reminds me of does not mean that there has been any copying. Rather it is about a similarity of mood from which however Rudolf Brančovský and his seven colleagues have put together an interesting mosaic. What is the best album to date by Poletíme? has a clear direction which we can also take as a message. It may want a hit, but the best hit is one with original poetics. It may be a little out of tune but it will get the homeless dancing on their benches and the sheep in the car.
Poletíme? – Chce to hit!; Released by Supraphon 2018, 16 tracks, total length 56:17