UŽ JSME DOMA: Parník 1985: 7”

Sometimes, records find their way into your collection as though placed there by some sort of divine hand. For me, Parník 1985 is one of those records. An off-the-wall avant-garde punk band from Czechoslovakia—my motherland!—playing their first-ever live set on a steamboat in 1985—my birth year!—to circumvent authoritarian control and censorship? I could not be more jazzed—pun intended! The beautifully illustrated, full-color, six-page booklet featuring photography from the event, plus personal reflections from attendee Alex Švamberk and FPB vocalist and bassist Miroslav Wanek—who later became Už jsme doma’s frontman—makes this release that much more special. Už jsme doma are still alive and kickin’—having honed their musical approach over the last 32 years—but the youthful freshness and enthusiasm on this record is inimitable, more than making up for the lack of skill displayed at the band’s outset. Instead of sloppy, their playing feels unrestrained; instead of unpracticed, it feels channeled from some other plane of existence. Už jsme doma have inspired comparisons to many widely-varied bands and artists over their long tenure, but these early recordings sound like spiritual siblings of John Zorn’s thrash-jazz, especially his work with Naked City during the Yamatsuka Eye years. Their music may not always be considered “punk,” but their story of anarchically evading the cops by smuggling their gear onto a steamer ship to play their very first show is the most punk thing in the fucking world. Kurva policii! –Kelley O’Death (PHR, [email protected], phr.cz)