If you’re like me you don’t like snow domes and kitschy spoons as souveneirs. You’d rather bring back something genuinely local from that place, like a CD, even if it’s never listened to. So what a surprise when it turns out to be pretty listenable.
Hladno Pivo is Croatian for ‘cold beer‘. Like a lot of punkers, they’ve come from rock bottom (paricularly in the post war years) to doing pretty well for themselves. This 2006 CD ‘Knjiga Zalbe’ looks like no expense was spared in its packaging or production. So resting on their laurels a bit, this is not hard core skater punk, it’s a lot more polished than that.
What Hladno Pivo are all about now is a more pop-punk tinged with blue collar acoustic ballads. Imagine Jimmy Barnes as a Croatian drunk and not a Scottish drunk. There’s a lot of pop punk riffage, and even the odd death metal departure. Bioloski sat even has some electric blues harp. Fortunately, it’s all cohesive and all sounds pretty good. If these guys weren’t so good, it would sound a lot worse. Although you can imagine a bunch of dissapointed Croat punkers longing for the old straight up punk stuff.
And no I can’t understand a single word of Croatian. But this is still bloody enjoyable! And let’s face it you can’t get more punk rock than calling your band cold beer.
On a completely separate note, the CD packaging itself mocks a Soviet complaint book. These are a communist artifact still mandatory in pubs and clubs in Croatia. Basically the owner of the place has his complaint book reviewed by the government at the end of the year and pays a fine according to the condition of his book. So despite looking very posh, this cover is the ultimate in punk rock, as each page is a complaint about a member of the band!