If there’s one European beat group from the mid-‘60s worth investigating, apart from Holland’s the Outsiders, it’s these guys from Czechoslovakia. That job has become a whole lot easier now Munster Records have compiled this exemplary retrospective containing the Matadors’ complete 1966-68 Supraphon recordings accompanied by an informative 12-page booklet chock-full of pics. The 24 tracks chart the group’s evolution from moody Mod-beat movers to psych-blues rockers, the soulful blue-eyed vocals, liquid organ runs and fuzz-guitar giving way to blistering distortion, heavy guitar jams and schizophrenic time signatures. Yet what really makes the Matadors stand out from the pack is the strength of their original numbers. “Get Down From the Tree” and “Hate Everything Except of Hatter”, taken from their debut EP, are as good as anything the Animals or the Pretty Things were doing in ‘66, while the exploratory instrumental psychedelics of “Extractions” is as progressive as it got back in 1968. An essential collection.
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