La Minor Oboroty

La Minor Oboroty
St. Petersburg's La Minor term their music "street chanson." More than a concise abbreviation of their mélange of Eastern European, Balkan and French influences typical of the Odessa region, it aligns them against the traditional Russki chanson and firmly with the underground. Slava Shalygin's voice is somewhere between a guttural chansonnier and Vegas showman, accompanied by the filigree of saxophone and bayan (the Russian button accordion), anchored by guitar and swinging drums. The band are supremely tight, especially during the blistering tempos of "White Acacia." If anything, the execution is too clean — the wonderfully ragged edges that give klezmer and Balkan brass band music their energy have been polished to a gleaming shine. Shalygin's lyrics deal with subject matter ranging from love and passion to alcohol and imprisonment, all of which could benefit from a whirling dervish sentiment in the music. There seems to be a resurgence of all things manouche these days, and La Minor are a welcome addition to the crew. (Eastblok)