If you don’t have an open mind about music, you may not like Russkaja. If you don’t like fun music, Russkaja isn’t your band. Russkaja are awesome! They are infectious! The band formed in 2005 and are signed to Napalm Records. Dare I say, Russkaja are Vienna’s best export. The band consists of Georgij Makazaria on vocals, Dimitry Miller on bass, Engel Mayr on guitar, Ulrike Mullner on violin, Rainer Gutternigg on trumpet, H.G. Gutternigg on potete, and Mario Strubler on drums.
Russkaja‘s opening track on “Energia!” is a mishegoss of amazement. It’s crazed and happy. It’s a heady mix of punk, ska, and metal. You are hooked from the first listen. By the second track, ‘Barada’, you are thoroughly in love. By the two minute mark of this song I was singing along. I’m sure the Ajuma on the train next to me thought I was psychotic as I sang aloud in my worst phonetic interpretation. ‘Barada’ is a song meant for sharing. Everyone should listen to it and sing along. ‘Radost Moja’ is another toe tapper, raise a pint, Bez would love this song! Even the rap break down at 1:11 is wicked cool. The horn section reminds me of the horn section in the Star Wars cantina scene. Everything about this song is sing along fun. I am hereby making a vow to infect everyone I know with this insanity!
‘Autodrom’ is a whirling dervish of musical activity. There are hints of heavy metal but then it descends into a ‘Devil Went Down to Georgia’ fiddle and trumpet Paganini thing at 1:58 to 2:17. Only five songs in and goofy happiness has taken over. ‘Instanbul’ sounds like something I heard at a supper club late one night in Al Ain, UAE. It’s hard to describe. All you need to know is that a dance floor is required… and wine… ‘Viola Mia’ is a lovely track. It’s ska. It’s folk. It’s passion. It’s angst. Rainer and Hans Georg are an amazing horn section! Russkaja‘s third album “Energia!” is definitely living up to their name. I found myself wanting to polka all through ‘Kartuli Vino’. Yes, polka – ska. Truly an impressive feat of song writing. ‘Kartuli Vino’ is followed by a jaunty ‘Surrealnaja’.
‘Dikije Deti’ has a grandiose opening before it erupts in a ska metal mash-up that will make your head explode. More group singing and headbanging follows before it breaks down into… circus music? . I know at this point you all are going “What the ‘ell?!”, but trust me, it works. You’ll enjoy Russkaja. You’ll enjoy the rap, hip-hop, ska, rasta, metal, polka. The most evil song on “Energia” is ‘Tanzi Tanzi’. It’s heavy metal guitar happiness meets funk on speed with a toss of Gypsy thrown in for fun.
Russkaja‘s “Energia!” comprises of twelve songs and clocks in at thirty-nine minutes. “Energia!” is a wonderful strange trip. It’s a trip that will be undertaken many more times.