Tuesday, August 5, 2008
I can't claim to know a lot about Hladno Pivo. Well, Hladno Pivo means "cold beer" in Croation, and of beers warm and cold I can make all kinds of claims, boasts and denials. But of Hladno Pivo, the regionally famous Croatian punk band, information in English is hard to come by. I first heard of them, ironically, in Serbia in 1996. Despite the animosity that existed between the two countries over the war that had ended only a year earlier (and, believe me, Slavs can hold a grudge), everyone I met recommended Hladno Pivo to me. And I know they weren’t offering me cold beer because, at the time, there was absolutely no cold beer in Serbia. Over the years I've attempted to find their music, with only a little success, but what I could find I really liked. The melodic punk, big guitars and occasional group singing reminded me of a lot of things. Sometimes it sounds like Agent Orange and Cock Sparrer, then it goes all Naked Raygun, and what's with that one song that sounds like Nomeansno? You probably have to be a lot of things to a lot of people when your country's isolated from the rest of the world by war. Just ask the Serbs. They really ended up jelly side down after that war.
This record is as catchy as a really catchy dose of syphilis and you'll be as happy as Vincent Van Gogh that you had one good ear to hear it with. And while you'll hear plenty of familiar things here, including melodies, this is a fun record with good production values and worth having. And I dare you not to drive faster than is safe for the loved ones in your car while listening to the end of "Ne Volim Te" (I don't love you). "Desetka" is Hladno Pivo in their prime. 1997. From what I can tell, like many good bands, they're well past it now. Let's just say I heard what can only be described as a "rap breakdown" in one of their later albums. It seems at this point they’ve jumped the morski pas.