Culture | Music

Album Review: ‘Numbers’ by Mydy – ‘a fine collection of catchy yet poignant numbers’

Rating:

02/12/2019

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With this album Mydy (usually known as Mydy Rabycad) seem to be moving in an even more electronic direction as there are no saxes and no samples of blues singers while the drum kit is less to the fore and there’s only a teeny bit of guitar. These eight songs were produced by keyboardist Nèro Scartch and drummer Tomás Konupka and were mostly written by the group as a whole.  

46661935_800_800The short opening track ‘Mantra’ has a churchy feeling with its solemn introductory keyboards, followed by male vocals in the style of a Gregorian chant and sung in what I take to be their native Czech. All the other vocals on the album are in English. With ‘Gimme More’ we’re back on more familiar Mydy territory with its upbeat tempo and catchy chorus sung by Žofie. Lyrically it has a familiar world-weary air with lines like, “I haven’t even slept yet and the sun’s already risin’ again”. It’s got a very full sound with washes of keyboards and electronic percussion. The treated vocals add colour and it’s very danceable. The next track, an instrumental called ‘Enter’, which clocks in at around forty seconds, is certainly minimalist but I do like the whistling introduction and the hint of menace in its crescendo. ‘Fire’ has another catchy chorus and a full sound with lots of keyboards and splashes of cymbals, real or synthesized. I’m not sure of the personnel on the album but I’m assuming that Jan Drábek, Ondřej Slánský and Mikulas Pejcha all played their parts. Žofie sings, “Well, I hope I don’t scare you. Am I too loud? Would you mind if I turn all the lights on the crowd?”

Despite its disgruntled lyrics such as, “I will no longer be your whore” and “I’m not a copy of you. Don’t waste your time ‘cos I’m out”, ‘I’m Out’ again has a very upbeat dancey feel and there are even some guitar chords. There’s a very nice change to a slower tempo with bass drum and pingly keyboards near the end. On the title track ‘Numbers’ the line “Living in freedom since ’89” is a very poignant lyric for this Prague-based band. There are Debbie Harry-esque vocals at times from Žofiecontrasted with harsh heavily-synthed male responses. Tomáš Konupka’s drums are more in evidence on this track. ‘They Won’t Beat Us’ opens in a very military style with the snare to the fore and a chanting male chorus before Žofie’s vocals begin. Lyrics like “If you don’t give up, they cannot beat us” speak for themselves. Once again, there’s a catchy chorus and a full sound with lots of keyboards and another change of tempo into a delightfully dreamy sequence. The final track ‘End Credits’ suggests we’ve been listening to a sound movie. It has a slow classical intro with sounds of the street and the fullest real drum kit sound yet. There are no actual words, but Mydy can make a wonderful sound out of their chorused “Who-oh-ohs, aaah-aahhs”.

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When I first heard this album, I thought the band had really lost it. How wrong I was. It’s a fine collection of catchy yet poignant numbers, rich in colour and atmosphere while also having that important danceable quality. My only gripe is that at around only twenty-five minutes in length, I have to say “Gimme more!”

‘Numbers’ was released in October 2019. There are no upcoming U.K. dates at the moment but you can find out more about Mydy Rabycad on www.mydyrabycad.cz

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