Review Summary: It's propaganda time!
Russkaja are back baby, and so am I, appearing once again in my role as faithful emissary and trusty guide to lead you, dear readers, on this cross-country, multi-cultural audio journey. Accompany me, take my hand, and dip your toes into the colourful waters of Russkaja. You’ll inevitably desire to dive into the depths of their remaining discography, once you’ve splashed around this supervised zone first.
Opener ‘Love Revolution’ kicks things off in classic Russkaja fashion, as a catchy, jaunty number accompanied with all the flare and eneяgia
this seven-piece genre blending project can muster. Chants of “viva la revolution” introduce the combined might of Georgij Makazaria’s gravelly vocals and the attention-grabbing trumpets, both of which contribute significantly to the band’s signature sound. Further on, ‘Here Is The News’ delivers a critique of said media, with its memorable hook repeating the track title followed by a quick verdict: “it's propaganda!” I suppose now is as good a time as any to briefly mention, if it wasn't already evident, that Russkaja aren't shy about promoting their political and social values, albeit with much fun and positivity. Nevertheless, this is sure to turn away certain listeners, although those are potentially not the kinds of listeners who would show interest in an album called No One Is Illegal
in the first place so...moving on. It's impressive to consider how consistently these Austrian musicians manages to deliver something new and interesting track after track. ‘Kosmopolit’, for example, is kosmopoLIT to say the least. Featuring the usual Russkaja blend of rock and ska, it also includes an incredible bridge merging a collection of unusual instruments from all over the globe. I mean, come on, where else can you go to hear a sitar and didgeridoo solo blanketed either side by a robot voice chanting the song title? That's right, nowhere
One trend that's noticeable fairly early on is the increased percentage of English lyrics used here in comparison to prior albums. Certainly there's still plenty of linguistic variety on display, but considering the universality and saturation of the English language, the decision to tip the scales further in its favour does somewhat reduce the “exoticism” of No One is Illegal
, with the uneven distribution also impacting the kosmopolitan atmosphere that makes Russkaja such a treasure. Naturally, it increases sing-along-ability for most audiences too, so some will rejoice upon hearing this direction. Instrumentally, the band retains their unique blend of musical influences, sourced from every corner of the European continent and far beyond – all of this is still just as awesome as usual. Russian folk, fiery trumpets, Eastern-polka, electronic flairs, pop sensibilities, and a hundred other sonic flavours I couldn't even begin to identify geographically all somehow coalesce to produce something super enjoyable. Without a doubt, that's the true magic of Russkaja.
While not quite as impressive as 2017’s Kosmopoliturbo
, Russkaja’s latest release has a lot to offer for lovers of…well, just about anything. You want it, they got it. Check ‘em out.