Those familiar with the Czech music scene are likely to have heard music by Lucie - arguably one of the most successful Czech rock bands of the 1990s. The group's success was expected to continue well into the new millennium, but then the project slowly began to unravel. Former members went their own ways, and have now released new CDs.
No band in the Czech Republic enjoyed more repeated success in the 90s than rock group Lucie but the last studio release by the band was in 2002. Slowly, the group withdrew from the public eye and its death knell arguably sounded last year when singer/songwriter David Koller - the group's instantly recognisable vocalist - announced he had quit the band. That left Lucie guitarist Robert Kodym and the bassist who goes by the acronym P. B.Ch. on their own, putting Lucie on ice for the time being and returning to their "other" rock band "Wanastowi Vjecy".
As it happens both they - and David Koller - recently released new albums within the same month, making comparisons somewhat inevitable: so, what are the CDs like?
Wanastowi Vjecy's album is titled "Torpedo", Koller's "Nic neni nastalo" or "Nothing Lasts Forever". As a number of Czech reviewers have already noted, both go for markedly different sounds, though both are likely to attract Lucie audiences.
Wanastowi Vjecy, always more of a classic hard rock group with plenty of guitar, fall back on tried and true formulas that are nevertheless effective. It's pure hard rock with a metal sheen. On some tracks Kodym's vocals are surprisingly gruff - drawing comparison with the Czech metal group Kabat, almost hardcore, and one realises the name "Torpedo" for the CD is very apt.
Already, some of the less heavy tracks are getting airplay, one even includes an unmistakable reference to AC/DC's "Back in Black".
David Koller's album by contrast is very different. His is also set firmly within the pop rock genre, but more pop than rock. It's good to hear him back. The vocals are snappy and fresh, reminding listeners there is good reason why Koller is one of the most imitated singers on the Czech scene. The album is, by turns, melodic at other moments cool. And not without a few corkers of its own, like the song "Lajka z I.P. Pavlova".
With all the talent involved one may feel sorry that Lucie crashed and burned - or perhaps more appropriately faded away, and fans may lament there may not be a new Lucie album for quite a while, maybe never. On the other hand, they can take heart that the bands' former members still know how to put together decent records: if not together, at least "on their own".