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Oko - Raskorak CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

2.91 | 9 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars Like fellow Seventies Yugoslavian prog-lite rock band Hobo, OKO ("The Eye") were another one-and-down band who left behind a sole release, yet one that's still worth rediscovering today. Guitarist/vocalist Pavel Kavec was the one true constant of this group, with not only line-up changes taking place before this album, but the group he had assembled splintering during the actual recordings compiled here. Blues based hard rock, Jimi Hendrix flavoured guitar workouts, light jazz elements and a couple of more fully realized progressive rock moments were the results for `Raskorak', and while it's only infrequently really great, it's still a well played and varied rock collection.

`Hoces Li Sa Mnom' kicks the album off in great form, an up-tempo rocker driven by a relentless beat propelling the track constantly forwards behind swirling spacey backwards effects, running water and crystal-like chimes, Pavel offering fiery little electric guitar fill responses after every line of his vocals. `Sve Sam Ti Dao' is an OK heavy bluesy mid- tempo rocker made more interesting with some cool snappy drumming, plucky bass and nimble electric guitar wailing throughout. The guts of `Hej Mala' is a throwaway rock n' roll boogie, but heavier stomping diversions throughout over deep-space synths wouldn't have sounded out of place on a Jane record. `Baj Baj' is another forgettable rocking boogie, a pleasant catchy commercial melody but only some tasty quick country-flavoured guitar fills during the verses stand out. There's plenty of slow-burn dreamy Floydian atmosphere due to some mesmerizing Hammon organ, but `Sam Sam' is virtually ruined by a cringe- inducing vocal from guest Zlatko Manojlovic, his screeching falsetto lady-killer croons simply go on forever and really destroys a lot of the potential the track was showing.

The two instrumental pieces that close each side of the album are the most exciting aspects of the LP. `Tema IV' is a foot-tapping feel-good cruising breezy jazz groove, with whirring Moogs, crystal-like electric piano, puttering bass that darts around the background and playful electric guitar licks all combining to bring some very positive mellow vibes throughout. The title track opens with glistening chimes and thoughtful electric guitar strains that almost remind of a spiritual-era Santana vibe, but quickly the momentum picks up that has the the band racing for their lives. Extended bluesy guitar runs and warped loopy electronics/ballistic Moog solos duel back and forth over dominating break-neck drumming and rock-solid bass. The band display a perfectly controlled and welcome looseness in the improv sections, and it's the highlight of the album.

Sadly it's the amazing cover art that is far and away the best thing about `Raskorak' (and if you want the album, you'd be better searching for the LP/vinyl reissue specifically for it), and every time I look at it, I keep thinking `I wonder if the album is better than I remember?', only to be kind of disappointed every time. It's still a decent disc, it's just that there's so many endless better albums to recommend before it. But along with the above mentioned Hobo, Kornelyans, Yu Grupa, Korni Grupa and others that have recently had CD/LP reissues, Yugoslavia had the good selection of reliable rock bands, and OKO are definitely worth giving a spin. With the potential constantly displayed throughout this work, it's a shame we didn't get to hear more of them.

Three stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 3/5 |


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