Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Russkaja-Aaban (it’s Russian)

June 1, 2006

russkaja2Band Name: Russkaja

Album: Aaban (it’s Russian)

Best Aspect: Fresh blend of genres

Genre: Ska/Russian Folk/Rock

Website: www.russkaja.com

Label: Chat Chapeau

Band E-mail: titus@dertitus.at

It’s no secret that Independent Clauses loves new stuff. It’s the foundation we’re built on- quirky, interesting, bizarre, incredible new stuff. Russkaja is all of those and more.

Russkaja is a party band, no doubt. They talk about goin crazy, drinkin vodka, and skanking. Yes, skanking- this is a ska-hybrid band. But it’s not fused to a pop-punk band or a rock band- oh no. Russkaja is a ska band fused to a traditional Russian folk outfit. I kid you not- this is true. Russkaja boasts instrumentalists rocking such non-rock instruments as saxophone, trombone, and even the non-ska violin.

But wait, it gets better. The lead vocalist sings in a low, raspy, energetic voice that sounds like your fun-loving Russian uncle. The group vocals that back him up are awesome as well, although they are mostly devoid of accent, which is almost a sad thing. But since the choir is singing in German, it really doesn’t matter too much. The lead singer is sings in Russian and English, just to make things more complicated.

But even with all these seemingly disparate parts, opening track “Good Evening” emerges as one brilliant 4-minute song. Yes, all that junk happened in one song. I haven’t even addressed the other three songs yet. That should be proof enough that Russkaja is a force to be reckoned with. These four songs are amazing in their style, range, audacity, and talent- they can play Russian-inflected ska (“Good Evening”), feel-good beach-pop (“Murphy’s Laws”), rock’n’roll with horns (the eerily Five Iron Frenzy-ish “Come on, Come on”), and punk with horns (the SERIOUSLY Five Iron Frenzy-esque “Zaporozhez”). On “Zaphorozhez”, you can’t even tell that they’re a Russian band- they sound just like a 3rd wave ska band would, except for the vocals. These guys aren’t hacks- they know their stuff really well.

This EP is one of the more amazing finds I’ve ever found on Independent Clauses.com, and Russkaja is the easily the best ska band I’ve heard in a long time. They’re definitely the most unique and interesting ska band I’ve ever heard- they stretch the boundaries of ska in very, very good ways. If you like ska, this CD is a must- you will LOVE this band. If you want to hear something very fresh and exciting, this is also your CD. This band is amazing- I could keep heaping praise on them for pages, but you still wouldn’t understand. Just listen to it and discover the amazing Russkaja for yourself.

-Stephen Carradini

independentclauses@hotmail.com

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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