The Czech music scene is divided into two camps; the more mainstream, Czech speaking side and the indie loving English speaking side. To make sure that we give you a clear picture the Czech scene, FemaleFirst’s dipped its toes into both.
Charlie Sraight is easily one of the best jumping points into the world of Czech music. Always looking both internally and externally, Charlie Straight have always recorded in English.
Influenced heavily by the indie music of the 80s and 90s, Charlie Straight are an exotic slice of something entirely familiar. Like a Victoria Sponge made in Prague, the band are quintessentially English, more in line with Razorlight and The Kooks than what you might expect from a band brought up around steel mills.
Singer Albert Cerny has always been a fan of English music, having travelled over from his rural Czech town to the UK to learn English and submerge himself in the music back in 2005, with playing at Glastonbury always on the bands mind.
It absolutely shows in the music, with Charlie Straight demonstrating the type of reverb laden, smile-inducing indie Britpop that has fuelled so many to appearances on the Pyramid Stage. Their second album, this year’s Someone With A Slow Heartbeat is easily comparable the best of British.
We’re sticking to the indie side with our next entrant Sunshine.
Ironically enough, Sunshine are far more successful and widely known outside of the Czech Republic than they are in their homeland. It’s not to see why, with their sound being in the same vein as We Are Scientists and White Lies (with the occasional hint of Duran Duran thrown in for good measure).
With blaring guitars, with their dollops of reverb and feedback, in a constant conflict to the driving vocals of lead singer Kay, Sunshine effortlessly wander between big, anthemic studio rock to small, more aggressive, almost punk hitters.
They may have been going since the mid-nineties, but Sunshine still have the ability to lighten up a dreary song like the very freshest of artists out there, as their latest album Karmmageddon proves time and time again.
Now we switch over to the more traditional side of Czech music with Aneta Langerová, easily one of the Czech Republic’s biggest singers.
After triumphing in their version of Pop Idol at the age of just 17 with a frankly ridiculous 79% of the votes, Aneta’s risen to the top of the pile and then decided to radically change her style.
Having cited Alanis Morissette as an idol, it’s not surprising that Aneta rose to power with a similar style of pop rock, taking a fair amount of inspiration from her Canadian heroine. Now though, she’s become known for something else entirely, by sweeping ballads.
With a deep, powerful voice, she’s acclimatised to this new area easily, backed up with sweeping strings and a traditional instrumentation that taps into the same retro, big band nerve that’s ben tapped oh so well of late and feels almost cinematic in tone.
It’s a move that’s been coming for a long time, with even her second album demonstrating a far more sedate mode of solo singing.
She even managed to break the domination of Lucie Bila at the Cesky Slavik awards, winning the female singer crown in 2005 and 2006. To put that into perspective, those are the only two years since 1996 that the award’s not been won Lucie Bila.
She may have abandoned her promisingly rocky roots for now, but Aneta’s still going very, very strongly.
A real trend in the world of the Czech charts, Tata Bojs are a group that’s been around for more than a decade. In Tata Boj’s case, it’s double that, as they’ve been hitting the shelves since 1991.
Over that time, they’ve been able to mould their styles to the era, although they’ve never sounded as comfortable as they do now, firmly entrenched in an electro pop groove that’s suits them down to the ground.
With an addictively unpredictable style, Tata Bojs may not be the newest group on the Czech market, but they are an absolute heap of fun to listen to.
Think we’ve missed off the pride of Prague? Let us know in the comments section below.
Regards Cameron Smith