Russkaja – Kosmopoliturbo

Living in the same circus as gypsy punks Gogol Bordello, but taming lions on the trapeze rather than strongmanning in the sawdust, Austrian nutjobs Russkaja peddle a resolutely unique brand of lunacy dubbed Russian-turbo-polka-metal which claws at your senses of order and fun like kittens in a wool mill. Though dangerously easy to write off within seconds as a gimmick, leaving prejudice at the door and following them blindly into the big top has always been a sure-fire route to happiness, with their Less Than Jake-meets-dancing bears blend of ska punk and Russian tradition firing all kinds of fun receptors in all but the most miserable misanthrope’s brain. Yes, it’s cheesy, yes, it’s preposterously overblown, and yes, it’s madder than a box of frogs in a barrel of wind-up teeth going over Niagara Falls, but is it really any more ridiculous than what’s already out there? At its best, new album ‘Kosmopoliturbo’ manages to live up to its own hype with wild-eyed blasts of hopak-dancing ska rock that refine the clucking of past efforts and force the listener to engage. The Mighty Boosh-esque ‘Cheburaschka’ in particular is absolutely screaming for a video with its tales of a Candyman-style party-starter whose best friend is a crocodile, while ‘Hello Japan’ slams like RATM in the Star Wars cantina. However, the album is blighted by a number of lumbering plods that rely too heavily on personality, and when the band take their foot off the pedal, the songs risk becoming forgettable, which is a feat in itself considering the DNA. Tony Ferrino-style crooners ‘Volle Kraft Voraus’ and ‘Mare Mare’ just about get away with it, but ‘Still In Love’ is a massive Bruno Mars-sized misstep. When they pick up the pace, Russkaja have the power to scorch the earth like a polka-dot Dragula in a Wacky (Death) Race across the Baltics, meaning there’s a superb five-track EP within Kosmopoliturbo, but as an album, it’s a frustrating split of the unbelievable and the unremarkable.

Russkaja - Kosmo

Categories: Album Reviews, Reviews

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