La Minor – Oboroty
Nice record this; apparently a collection of underground gangster, prison and camp songs. And (apparently again) the band La Minor are the refuseniks who play these old songs in the most “unacceptable” way possible. Fine by me, as this LP certainly gets the foot tapping.
Apparently this LP contains polkas or slow waltzes and tangos. But you wouldn’t know as the band doesn’t stick to strict interpretations of any musical convention. Sometimes there’s a jazzy klezmer, a lullaby or gypsy swing; sometimes there’s folk punk, or sometimes a mutated, speeded up ska. La Minor use sax, Bayan, guitars & double bass to create a warm, fluent and incredibly mercurial backdrop to these rebel songs. The bands musical wanderings are informed further by singer Slava Shalygin’s incredibly warm voice. The fact that (not understanding Russian beyond “da” & “nyet”) I have no idea what he’s babbling on about matters not a jot; the lad has considerable presence.
When the songs aren’t about drinking, they’re about getting locked up, or about fighting over girls. Class. Highlights are Tihy Vecher (Quiet Evening) which is a breathless whirl, completely belying its title. And White Acacia after a deceptively gentle beginning is a breakneck stomp that gets Too Much Too Young on your ass at one point. Check out the up-tempo question and answer of The Girl in the White Cotton Dress and the brilliantly maudlin Lullaby, which is like a pissed-up choir rehearsal.