KONTRABANDA’s New Album Review

December 5th, 2006

KONTRA BANDA always had an amazing spirit. As a band, they challenged the “big time” concert experience, different “sexual roles”, multimedia, and what was possible with alternative music in the mid-1990s and beginning of the 21st century. All of their albums are a driving force – they cannot help but stir you ponderous. You have to be willing to go along with their flights of fancy, very often they are the pure garage rock band. Their consciousness is a challenge and an inspiration – whether or not you agree with their notions of personal freedom and exhibitionism, you will likely feel motivated by the spirit invested in KONTRABANDA’s works.

KONTRABANDA exploded out of the Serbian pop-rock music scene in the mid-1990s with their larger-than-life amalgam of rock, pop, punk, indie and anything else that struck their fancy. They released their first studio album “Goodnight, children” in (Go-Go records, 1997), followed by the “I can’t acclimatize myself” (Tom Tom music, 1999/just before the NATO bombing of Serbia and Montenegro). They always knew when their music was ready to come out when it would be critical to get together and make the best. They never considered themselves as “prophets”, but musical themes and lyrics were always kinda “prognostic” like they had their eyes wide open and mixed that feeling of the big “social loss” with pure sexual energy and love sharing. KONTRABANDA always felt it was time to get serious and wildly-creative at the same time, and pop out only serious records with specific indestructible Rock’n’Roll sound.

Their latest album named “The Man, the State and the Handycam” (released for PGP RTS, 2006.) is a lot about “moral Anarchy” and finally, about love, devotion and self- reviewing in the unstable, mistrusting time of “big Reformers who are constantly coming and disappearing”. The new album title shows the bands the whole image consisted of “wild” and “fancy” iconography, and also definitely took some literal “balls”. To stand before people as you are, but in a way, if you are in the proper state of mind, reaching out to the crowd, getting loud and honest might seem to make a lot of sense.

Knowing that when the music mattered with “The man, The State, and The Handycam”, Kontrabanda has crafted a glorious return that represents far more than a comeback – it stands as a high-water mark in an already
remarkable career and dedication to yet another generation of rock and love believers and “love warriors”. The “Handycam” in question can be quickly defined as the state propaganda system of media, corporations, and government. It can just as easily mean any form of illegitimate authority. It’s an open, modern EYE, the observer of both worlds>our reality and inner spaces.

The”Man” directed at the Handycam means demonstrating, by any means necessary, one’s dissatisfaction with the status quo. A man was about generating social consciousness, urging activism & involvement, and fighting for a change. Tackling controversial political and social issues in their lyrics opened the door for a new, stronger Kontrabanda’s formula aiming for the top of the musical charts.

The new album cover proclaims not only a political statement, but also finding your personality in the time of unpredictable events where only personal love and faith can make serious changes. Handycam is a documentary, esthetic, ethical, social, innovative, awakening, the critical, ironical, sensitive and compassionate eye of Modern Man. The “State” is in between, so mutable and an unpredictable “soil”. The expressive new album material easily fetches acclaim, (and for sure!), commercial appeal with energetic and cohesive edges fulfilled with deep human emotions.

No hurdle’s too high as KONTRABANDA shifts through the gears with spiraling tension and emotional release setting the forceful tone. The sniping narratives and lashing riffs sound truly stunning. Frontman Branislav Radovanović hovers and targets social injustice and chooses catchy love lyrics to express all mentioned inner and outer relations. Kontrabanda’s latest release, “THE MAN, THE STATE and THE HANDYCAM”, is a step in the right direction – going straight to “clear” ears and hearts. We got the CD which is definitely among the most inspired work Kontrabanda has ever put forth in the past because they delivered complex material as “concrete” proof that Avant-guard never dies!. As they scream in their song “The Clouds of Dust”… “The whole world will not fit into the Handycam!”, you can easily dig that you need to open your inner-eye and look all around for the sake of a brighter future.

Aleksandra Ilić