Don't cry, Anicka. The Hoffster doesn't sign for anybody.
ILLES, Ne Sirjatok Lanyok (Don't Cry, Girls) (Hungarian LP from 1973)
For crate diggers and the more adventurous psych funksters, the wonderful world of Hungarian rock has always been a daunting venture, kinda like renting a David Lynch movie. There are moments of pure brilliance; the trouble is wading through all the garbage to find ‘em. Illes has always been Hungary’s most rewarding band, probably because they were like big rock stars back home, the Budapest Beatles. They even released a White Album (technically called Human Rights), although they did it in 1971, long after the Beatles had ceased to be a working entity. And while none of Illes’ albums are as great as the REAL White Album, or even Rubber Soul for that matter, there are a handful of psych funk breakbeat gems on each one of ‘em. And since, through the magic of Ebay, you no longer have to book a flight to Budapest to rifle through Laci Bacsi’s smoke-filled vinyl storeroom just to find ‘em, it’s easier than ever to start diggin’.
This is Illes’ final album, 1973’s Ne Sirjatok, Lanyok (Don’t Cry, Girls). They’ve added synthesizer on this one, and finally turned to the funk (presumably to attract some young Lanyok), so there are some dancefloor-ready funk MONSTERS on here, along with some occasionally surprising robotic krautrock moves that we’ve never heard from these guys before. And if Illes’ earlier albums found them looking backward a lot, trying to catch up to what was done years before, Don’t Cry, Girls actually shows them to be ahead of the curve, at least when you consider the rest of Europe was busy making Jethro Tull and Emerson Lake & Palmer rich. The minimal robot-like funk dance beat of “Say What You Want” will remind you a lot of Kraftwerk, and you might even mistake the wriggly synth accents in the trippy minor-key psycho freakout “Yes” to be the work of some 60’s-obsessed neo-psych group like Bevis Frond.
But the best thing here by FAR is the utterly AMAZING “Crazy Girl.” It’s a blisteringly fast-paced freak funk breakbeat mother with fire-alarm synth and rolling T. Rex/Steve Peregrine Took hand drums, a big old fat chocolate sundae for percussion fans. Imagine an early 70’s Giorgio Moroder single mixed with the Normal’s “Warm Leatherette” and sprinkled with some Gap Band, and yeah, two of those references actually came later on the musical timeline! So how could a band trapped in the creative wilderness of Eastern Europe manage to be both behind the times and well ahead of them? Maybe because, in those years between 1971 and 1973, Illes stopped emulating their older heroes and started listening to their younger fans. It’s like the Knack once said. The old-heads might not like it. But the little Lanyok understand.
THE SQUID POP METER SEZ: A good solid KILENC
BEST SERVED WITH: Goulash and Elsa Pataky. Or, better yet, Goulash ON Elsa Pataky.