“The history of the band Gazdina roba goes back to the 1990’s, when most of the current members would meet up in the local Brno bands. […] Gazdina roba functioned for years as a studio project. The turning point happened ten years after its creation with the release of their first regular album under the fitting title Deset let jsme se neviděli (We Haven’t Seen Each Other for Ten Years) in 2004 […] In 2017, the band released their second album První poslední (From Beginning to End)”. That is the basic information found on their website www.gazdinaroba.cz. These are bare facts, which doesn’t really tell us that Gazdina roba (which could be translated as Farmer’s Wench), an almost secret band in the Brno scene, is in its genre of rock song-writing one of the best to be found. Their musical energy brilliantly ties together with their poetic texts.
The base of the band is formed by singer Petra Jonášová, guitarist Lukáš Hrabovský, keyboard player Václav Kramář and by Zbyněk Raušer, not only a drummer, but also the producer of the album and well-known from the bands Portless and Tibet. It is hard to judge how much of the overall sound of the album comes from him as an individual and what is from the band as a whole (the songs are signed collectively), but the result has a compact sound and the producer’s handwriting is very visible.
To write that the band plays rock would be a gross simplification. Whilst the introductory song Marná (Futile) is truly straightforward rock together with the keyboard, in the following songs Gazdina roba presents us the other variants of the genre – from folk rock (Za dveřmi – “Behind the door”), through modern pop-rock (Hrom do Kytice – “Thunder to the Bouquet”) to the sharper guitars with hard rhythm (Litera skripta manet). The album’s variety is accentuated by the lighter parts, such as the swinging title song První poslední. Singer Petra Jonášová can excellently adjust for all these styles and is convincing in each of them.
In spite of the mentioned variety, Gazdina roba is firmly anchored in the rock mainstream, and though they play brilliantly, it is nothing really different from the genre. However, it is absolutely unique when it comes to their texts, which take topics from everyday life (however dull that sounds), literature and history. It is not even really about the form (the rhymes are often expected, and there are maybe far too many rhymes of one-syllable words), but rather about the content. For all the songs from which we could choose and analyse parts about trochees, Peter Gabriel playing in the earphones or the fork, knife, spoon and the bloody razor, I will choose only some. Hrom do Kytice is a bow to Karel Jaromír Erben and the “strange deeds” that he wrote about in his book. Čas dronů (Time of Drones) is a topical warning about the clouds above Fukushima and about the expulsion of Adam and Eve out of the tax haven. In Za dveřmi, well-known phrases (“On foot is like behind a carriage”, “How is it at home today”, “This place is dull”) together form a text with one meaning: “The world stays the same, no matter how many books you read”, followed by the less obvious and open “Suddenly there is laughter from behind the door”.
The texts of Gazdina roba’s songs are not isolated. Throughout the album you can find unifying topics, from which we can deduce a binary opposition: not only beginning and end, but also war and peace, new and old, and also blood, which needs no opposition. “Where’s your hair? At the hairdressers or at the oncologist?” is just one of the examples that shows the band asks more questions than they answer. What can seem simple can have many meanings, just like the music of Gazdina roba together with their texts. Even in the moment when Petra Jonášová’s singing in Nehtem hladí (Stroking with Nails) is joined by the legendary voice of Petr Bende, or when the rock band is accompanied by an orchestra in Čas dronů and one is forced to ask: Is this the mainstream or alternative? That is also the power of Gazdina roba.
Gazdina roba – První poslední. Self-published in 2017, 12 songs, overall time 39:44