Serbian ensemble serve up strong studio present to map out their ebb-and-flow future.
Having laid ground rules for worldwide operation with their concert album, this collective didn’t stall to play around with the ideas flaunted in front of immediate audiences and consolidated their time-tested approach and drew “Lines In Sand” where the collective’s life force is run through an impressive variety of memorable metamorphoses. There’s also a great integrity in the dozen cuts which seem straightforward in terms of delivering memorable passages but are hellbent – and heaven-bound – on veering away from the obvious in search of new pleasures.
Unhurriedly floating into aural frame with percussive excitement and mesmeric folk vocal of the title track, whose crystal wobble gives way to glacial riffs that usher in expansive and punchy, if lucid, fusion jive, the record is a vast playground for Hadžimanov’s agile ivories. Vasil may let Branko Trijic and Miroslav Tovirac engage in fun-exuding funk on “Mr. MoonJune” – another dedication to the label’s mastermind Leonardo Pavkovic – but it’s synthesizers that rule the game here, spreading flecks of sunlight all around megalopolis landscape yet stepping aside for tropicalia-tinctured piano to take over and reveal sadness underneath the sax-smeared effervescence. From there. the arrival of a certain Brazilian style in “San Snova” would only be logical, of only it wasn’t so elegiac as to suggest romantic ramble and breakdown.
That’s why “Lost” is losing its voice before turning the tune’s dramatic meander into a stumbling sleepwalk and then a frivolous dance, one that will attain another level of urban urgency on “Kazi Gradiska” until “Maklik” offers a space sort of careless stroll, as keyboards bubble and attract retro effects to the piece’s rather simple melody. All of this would fail to prepare the listener for the atmospheric soul of “For Clara” – rolling from slow to delirious mood – or for the shift of “Freedom From The Past” from rustic vibe to sleek jazz-rock, while “Ratnici Podzemlja” is a picturesque slice of old-time electronica whose unsophisticated beats are given Moog and Hammond colors to rave and host a vocodered chant. So although the reggae-tinged epic “Rege Hadzi” attains cosmic consciousness, the quintet and their guests never take it too seriously: after all, everything is transient, like lines in the sand, but even fleeting delight is worth the effort.