Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Selo i Ludy Performance Band

  • Bunch One [self-released, 2019] A

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Bunch One [self-released, 2019]
I first heard this Kharkiv-based accordion-balalaika-bass-drums band covering A-ha's "Take on Me" on an MSNBC segment shot early in the war in a basement bomb shelter they shared with nine other patriots, and was soon delighted to find this 2019 covers album in their "funny folk punk polka style" on Amazon. Not counting the two Rammstein tracks Alexander Goncharov intones in German, it comprises nine radio-friendly rock standards, two of the three I like most squeezed into a "Sweet Seven Nation Dreams" mockup Jack White deserves for copping the Eurythmics' bassline. What makes these songs standards is that they're catchy fun when done right, but in this context they also comprise an inspired claim on the democratic capitalism and artistic freedom even Ukrainians with surnames like revered Russian novelists want in on. This is where Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing," Bon Jovi's "It's My Life," and Queen's "I Want to Break Free" become cultural artifacts to build a dream on. With the band's drummer evacuated although Goncharov assures us he'll be back because the worst is over and the war will be won, they've been live-streaming as a trio from a grimmer looking bomb shelter on their own YouTube channel, where PayPal and Patreon options helps American admirers underwrite a rebuilding Selo i Ludy insist is no less inevitable than it is essential. With Putin apparently set on turning Kharkiv into Aleppo as I write, I just hope there'll be enough left to rebuild--with Selo i Ludy intact enough to keep pitching in. A