Gary Lucas

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The Plastic People Of The Universe Review


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What looks like a silly title is actually a compelling story of musical passion against governmental odds. While The Plastic People of the Universe is mostly a talking-head video about the Czech rock and roll band formed in 1968, the description of various oppressive measures that the regime took to silence the band's lyrical rebellion is certainly a journey worth hearing about.

Propelling the oral history into the past are a few choice comments from such famed influential American musicians as Lou Reed. These excerpted discussions surpass the normal "They're great!" jargon, becoming a sincere testament of flattery and mutual admiration bridging the divergent cultures. On the one hand, Czech nationals wax about the positive images of overseas talent encouraging their voices to rise. On the flipside, U.S. citizens may have been thrown in jail for various "acts against the state" throughout history, but the majority of this pales in comparison to the physical repercussions of singing angry lyrics in an occupied territory.

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Gary Lucas

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