Esence


Well, it’s been a while, but I’m blaming that on work commitments going berserk (scratch that, actually having work commitments for a change, more like) and falling head-first into the seductive world of learning about monitor speakers, room acoustics and counter-espionage (possibly telling porkies on that last one).

Anyway, this is going to be short but sweet. Esence are a band from Prague that I’ve found myself listening to quite regularly in recent weeks, which is quite a departure from the typically less ‘Czech-vocalled’ stuff that I go for. They reluctantly describe themselves as ‘pop-rock’, which stands to reason given their penchant for catchy melodies backed by powerful bass and drums.

However, the prominence of an electric violin competing for space with more typical rock band instruments provides but one clue that this talented group of musicians has no interest in being shackled by simple genre boundaries. Apart from making me nostalgic for the hours I spent as a kid listening to the Dexys Midnight Runners, what I like most about Esence is a sense of playfulness that characterises all of their music. You can almost imagine vocalist Petr Štika recording takes in the studio, chewing on a cigar with his feet planted firmly up on the mixing desk (if he didn’t also need to handle a guitar) and some of the instrumental embellishments (especially involving the aforementioned violin) would have morris dancers excitedly getting to their feet, only to return to their seats in disappointment when another powerful chorus crashes in.

Below is a video of a tune called Počasí (Czech for Weather) that I particularly enjoyed, but be sure to check out their website which allows you to stream, download and buy many more of their songs including their wonderfully entitled album ‘Folk You’ and the slightly more sensible ‘Esence’. We often say this about bands that we review, but I’m going to say it again: I can imagine these guys being great live and they are right at the top of my invisible list of Czech bands to catch in concert. I hope to see you there!

James

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