Sunday, 7 July 2013
CulDeSac "Nebud hrdy na to, ze jsi clovek" Ep 199?
This Ep may currently be the least sought after punk record that I know of, and if one is to trust the amount of information about CulDeSac on the web, well, one might start to think that even then, no one really cared about them. Always prone to defend the underdogs (and the Underdogs as well), the aim of today's post will be to make you want to listen to this unfashionable record, a record which, despite obvious disadvantages what with them being an Eastern European band from the 90's, is actually pretty good.
I must admit that I don't know much about the Czech scene. They seem to always have an awful lot of grindcore bands (following the path of Czechcore SRK and Malignant Tumour I suppose), some good fast hardcore bands like Gride and See You In Hell and a couple of gritty and hoarse crust bands like Dread 101 and Mass Genocide Process in the early and mid 00's. Czechoslovakia also had a solid punk scene in the 80's as the great "Barikady Nové Fronty" compilation tape attests (there are some cracking songs from Radegast on it that would make any self-proclaimed raw punk fanatic weep). However, and contrary to the well-established neighbouring Polish scene, the Czech scene doesn't seem to get much credit (apart from Guided Cradle and the hard-working See You In Hell), which is a shame as there are some really good stuff going on there.
I wish I could give you a bit of background information about CulDeSac, but unfortunately I cannot. This Ep, the title of which translates as "Do not be proud to be a man", is their sole record and the recording dates are not even provided. Judging from the ever-important "thanks list", "Nebud hrdy na to, ze jsi clovek" can be thought to have been released in the mid-90's, probably 1996 (after the Dog On A Rope and Selfish tours in Eastern Europe anyway). The band also thanks the 1in12 Club so it is not unlikely that they played there at some point as well. CulDeSac, which means "one-way street" in French, were a fairly typical 90's anarchopunk band with male/female vocals. The songs are fast and to the point and, depending on how you like your punk-rock, the sloppy playing and the genuinely raw quality of the sound will either attract or distract you. The guitar sound is quite thin and distorted but I am not sure the band was trying to ape Chaos UK on this one as it sounds unintentional. There is however no question that CulDeSac were serious and meant what they said with their heart and soul. There is an unfakable energy and sense of urgency ot the songs. Clearly, the priority was given to the politics and to the expression of anger here. But if you still need points of comparisons: a sloppier Antiproduct with more d-beat, a less crusty but equally raging Silna Wola or Homomilitia, the very first rehearsal of Paragraf 119 or Väning 5 or, why not, a less tuneful anarcho version of Radegast. Anyway, as unpretentious as this record is, it can easily please the lovers of 90's anarchopunk but also the aforementioned raw punk geeks (after all the drumming is sufficiently all over the place yet pummelling that it doesn't make CulDeSac too far from Besthöven).
There are three texts in this record that are translated in English. Unfortunately, and I certainly don't blame the band for that, the meaning is a bit lost at times, which is a shame since it is obvious that much thought has been put in writing them. The first one is about the overwhelming power of the system and those who defend it and how we should be careful not to compromise our political movements with their rules and ways of thinking and acting. Otherwise we become toothless tigers, or rather, really old cats that have lost both claws and teeth. Kill the system inside you! The two other texts have been written by the female singer, Lylith. There is one about gender roles and how they permeate our lives and one about child abuse and its deep roots in society. At times, some arguments are a little awkward and some of them are lost in translation, but I enjoy reading them nevertheless as they are clearly result from a personal thinking process about political issues and they come out as sincere. Angry but not pessimistic.
The lyrics of the six songs relate to these three texts and also have English translations. "Valka v risku" is about the need to act and resist now in order to build a classles society; "Clovek je vinen" is a song about our apathy before human and animal abuse; "Vestra" is about children abuse and how too many of them are condemned to live in poverty and misery; "Odmitni system" is the "fuck the system" number and "Tvé tèlo - tva volba" is a pro-choice song. The artwork also reflects the central themes of the record and on the whole it is a very nice-looking Ep. It was released on Malarie Records, which, along with Insane Society Records, is the most famous Czech anarchopunk (and related) DIY label. I have had troubles finding a chronological discography of Malarie but not only have they released new records from bands like Agathocles, Warcollapse, Genital Deformities, Homomiltia, Extinction of Mankind, See You In Hell, Diskonto or Trottel but they also did tape (and vinyl later on) versions aimed at the Eastern European punks of records from Nausea (their "Extinction" tape might actually be Malarie's first release), Disorder, Detestation, State of Fear or the Restarts. A very prolific label that has been around since 1990 and one that has a special place in my heart since I actually bought quite a few of their tapes (Trujaca Fala and NNNW's as well) when we were lucky enough to have a distro from Eastern Europe at a gig.