OK, this one was bit unusual. Apparently, Vulgargrad are an Australian band yet practically every song on their album “The Odessa Job” is sung in Russian. One world, one culture and the press release duly gets thrown in the bin and it’s time to press the play button again.
The songs on this album are in the style of blatnye pesni, or Russian prison folk songs, which, I suppose, makes for a nice cultural change and they are performed in the kind of robust style that can overcome both copious quantities of vodka and the box ticking ways of the fickle festival audience. Out front, Jacek Koman’s vocals have that stylised robustness that practically fuels excessive sentiment for the bad old days whilst effectively evoking the camaraderie of the prison cell for those whose actual incarceration expectations are low and, as performances go, he is right on the (probably stolen) money.
Being sung in Russian, I have little idea as to the meaning of the lyrics yet, after a surprisingly small amount of vodka and only four songs, I felt an overwhelming urge to get some tattoos that would advertise my underworld affiliations. “The Odessa Job” is that kind of album. For all I know, Vulgargrad may have contrived this entire album for the benefit of the festival audience yet, such is their gloriously bombastic musical conviction, that you can’t help yourself from joining in the delusion that you are in the company of criminal types.
Best song? The relentlessly stylised “Aunty Haya”
The Verdict? This album encourages the smashing of glasses. Drink heavily and sing along.
Available from Bandcamp and other online sources.