(All Album Reviews by maribor)
Slobodan A. Kovacevic Ė guitar
Davorin Popovic Ė vocals
Fadil Redzic Ė bass
Djordje Kisic Ė drums
Nenad Jurin Ė keyboards
With: Ranko Rihtman Ė piano solos, Tihomir Pop Asanovic Ė organ solos, poem recitals Ė Fabijan Sovagovic
Indexi were a well-known band in Yugoslavia all throughout the late 60s and the 70s. They produced hit after hit. But those who followed them carefully knew they werenít merely a pop band. They experimented with psychedelic music already with their singles in the late 60s and even their pop material was of a very high standard, unlike the absolutely dreadful material that the band Pro Arte, who were put in the same league as Indexi, were putting out (although even Pro Arte released a semi progressive album as well). The popularity of Slobodan Kovacevic and company was slowly diminishing and I guess it was this lack of pressure from the record company to produce more hits that prompted them to do something a bit more daring. They were always on the threshold of progressive music, but this album firmly established their position amongst the legendary Yugoslavian progressive bands.
The albumís lyrics are based on poems written by a popular Bosnian poet Mak Dizdar. It can already be kind of hinted from the song titles that the record is in a way conceptual. There is a logical storyline, which starts with the blue river. The blue river is obviously at the centre of the storyline. It is a place of mystery, nobody can find it, but it offers various riches to those who do find it. As is the case with every treasure, there are always explorers that seek it.
But enough about the lyrics. The music is so special that you neednít even understand them to appreciate the glorious compositions on display here. The main composers are Redzic and Kovacevic but they donít seem to have very large egos. They didnít push for their instruments to be in the foreground. They were team players. In fact, that was one of the things Indexi were known for Ė their incredibly tasteful and seemingly effortless arrangement with no instrument dominating. This is an album that will most likely leave fans of virtuoso guitar and keyboard playersí fans cold. This isnít a synth or Hammond fest, there is no guitar shredding. What it is, is the epitome of tastefulness in music. It is a showcase of the power of great composition over improvisation. Thereís hardly any soloing on the album and if youíre looking for jazz improvisations, you better put on some Miles Davis. There are a few moments that include some improvisations but mostly the compositions are thought out and skillfully arranged. But still the songs are challenging enough and the compositions intriguing so that all tastes are catered for. The musicians show off their skills in different ways than long and extended solos, but itís obvious if you listen to this album many times that the skills are there. They simply chose quality over quantity (of notes).
Most people classify Indexi as an art rock band. But what does that mean, really? To make life a bit easier for those who, like me, donít know what art rock is supposed to mean, Iíll say that this album is symphonic. There are some traces left from their psychedelic days and naturally the melodies are absolutely sublime. Since they come from a pop background, they know all about writing beautiful melodies.
Unfortunately, this album is quite difficult to get, so all of you who are drooling over your CDR copies will have to wait a bit longer until Croatia Records decides to reissue this. I think there are still some copies available at Kalemegdan but donít wait too long. This is a really precious album to me also because it was one of the first Yugoslavian albums I heard. Itís still one of my favourites. Itís a tough call between this and the Korni Grupa album for the best Yugoslavian record ever (otherwise I prefer Not an ordinary life by The Kornelyans, but I donít really think of it as a Yugoslavian album since the lyrics are in English).
8.5 out of 10