Lyapis Trubetskoy are massive in Russian karaoke circles, I understand, and there aren’t too many artists covered in these virtual pages that have that claim to fame, that’s for certain. Belarus’ favourite Punk/Ska band (allegedly), Lyapis Trubetskoy have been plying their trade for more than a decade and yet, primarily for language reasons, you’ve probably never heard of them. Until now! Thanks to the fine folks over at EastBlok music, you can now sample a selection of their finest wares. Agitpop is a greatest hits collection of sorts and the main impression you’ll probably take from this is that it’s probably a lot of fun to be in Lyapis Trubetskoy.
Their sound isn’t so much authentic as bizarre. Both ska and punk elements feel like they’ve been filtered a number a times, as if they’ve studied Madness and Green Day as opposed to The Skatalites and The Damned but that’s not a criticism because it’s that filter that makes things work. This may be a tribute to a lot of Western music, but it’s most definitely East European at heart and you’ll hear as much Gypsy folk in here as you will anything else. They may not have the bombast and power of a band like Kaiser’s Orchestra, who merge East and West in such a wonderful fashion, but there’s a lot to like here. What’s especially good about this collection is that (if these songs are placed in chronological order) then they’ve definitely improved year upon year. I’ll be honest though, I’m not sure I needed an hour of Belarussian ska/punk by means of an introduction but there’s no denying that this is a lot of fun.
If you’re at all adventurous, I suggest you take a trip into Lyapis Trubetskoy’s world. It’s nice to get out of your safe zone for a while. You may not understand a word they’re saying, but you can be sure that they mean every bloody word of it.
File under intriguing.