Clocking in at just under forty minutes, Carniphobia is an onslaught far too rich and busy to be absorbed in just one listen. It’s something of a Frankenstein’s monster, genre-wise, melding cabaret, European folk, punk rock and a healthy dose of circus-style theatricality in a way that recalls self-proclaimed gypsy punks Gogol Bordello and cabaret-folk mob Katzenjammer, but make no mistake, Carniphobia is a world of its own.
From the scene-setting opening track Die Die Die to the delightfully twisted closer Oh Your Mother, this is an album that glories in the strange and the macabre. Stuffed full of vocals that seesaw madly between deranged howls and unhinged whispers, deeply unsettling lyrics and creative musicality, Carniphobia is an anarchic fairground ride through a bizarre carnival kingdom, and it’s absolutely glorious. It’s endlessly surprising, too – Dance Of The Clowns and Sold To The Circus are what one might expect to hear based on the words “circus punk”, but then there’s Drunk Girls, which begins with a solo guitar and a restrained, grungy vocal and then quickly blossoms into a swaggering barnstormer of a song complete with buckets of nasty humour and a fabulous brass section. You never know quite what to expect, and that’s what makes it so much fun.
Carniphobia showcases some brilliant songwriting (most notably on tracks like the swing-infused Two Legged Gaunt Freak), but the incorporation of borrowed passages from other musical worlds only adds to the entertainment. Dead Man’s Maggot opens with a sinuous, tango-esque excerpt from Trust In Me, better known as Kaa the snake’s song from The Jungle Book, Merrick features a section of Grieg’s In The Hall of the Mountain King, Sold To The Circus naturally veers off into Julius Fučík’s instantly recognisable Entrance of the Gladiators, known simply to most people as “the circus song”. This isn’t unique to Buffo’s Wake, but what sets them apart from many of the other bands who attempt it is the way it never feels like a crutch or a gimmick. Even the band’s rendition of Korobieniki, the Tetris theme tune, which has already been reinterpreted as everything from a solo piano piece to a dubstep track, feels joyous, crackling with energy and bursting with full, lush instrumentation.
Dark, demented and utterly delicious. What’s not to like?
Carniphobia, the debut album by Buffo’s Wake, is out this Halloween. Find out more here at the band’s website.
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We have drawn a WINNER to our Less Than Jake/The Interrupters Tickets GIVEAWAY! Congratulations to Eric from Waterford, NY as you and a guest will be attending the show at the Upstate Concert Hall Friday October 24th on us!!! Also playing as special guests And We Danced and Firestarter.
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Tarakany! (Russian for Cockaroaches!) is a punk band in the truest sense of the word. They’ve been together for more than twenty years, played more than 800 shows and are fighting to get the word out about the political and social issues that are important in modern-day Russia. Over the years they’ve caught the attention of artists such as Marky Ramone (the Ramones) and Chris Barker (Anti-Flag), released 13 studio albums, a handful of live albums and have played across Europe and Japan.
Fr.U.N.T. Music had the opportunity to ask Dmitry Spirin of Tarakany! a few questions and he was gracious enough to take the time to chat with us.
Cardiac_in_Overdrive: Tarakany! has been together for over 20 years. What keeps you together as a creative force? How do you resolve your differences?
Dmitry Spirin: We all are big fans of punk rock and we love to make music together. This is our greatest pleasure. We still get high while performing on stage, composing new songs and recording at the studio. We also have the messages, which we want to share through our music. But this is not the matter. Every person in the band has a right to propose and every opinion counts. As the original member I even abandoned my veto power, as I believe that only complete creative freedom can lead to the effective results.
CiO: Is there a difference between American audiences and Russian ones? How about touring? Or is it just a bunch of guys shoved into a van no matter where you are?
DS: We’ve never played in America, but we did several times in Europe and Japan. I consider that for a popular band like ours the difference is always the same – people who knows us react in one manner, those who are just getting to know us – differently. It’s been a long journey for us to popularity all-over Russia, and now thousands of fans are singing along at our shows in every venue we play. I believe that mixture of American punk rock, Russian melodies and Russian lyrics could, at least, attract American audience and make them come at our show.
CiO:What has been the biggest creative influence on the band in the last couple of years?
DS: Lately, thanks to domestic and foreign policy of the Russian government, doing everything to reduce the democratic values and civil liberties in our country, we have plenty of topics for new songs. So Pussy Riot’s imprisonment, several public laws, Ukraine, protest rallies, outlawed demonstrations, and imprisonment of a few Russian democratic leaders inspired us to write some of our new songs.
CiO: What about the Russian political scene do you think is important for those outside of Russian to be educated and aware of?
DS: The main thing that we want to say – don’t you ever forget that there are no any Russians, Ukrainians, Americans, Syrian etc. We all are Earth’s citizens, always keep this in mind, when someone is trying to wash your brains. This is the only thing we all need to know about the political theater of any country. Nothing else matters.
CiO: Do you think being political through the medium of music makes your message more accessible to the younger generations? Do you feel like they’re listening?
DS: Undoubtedly. Rock music, especially our music, is the easiest way to communicate any ideas to the people.
CiO:What does the future have in store for Tarakany!?
DS: We will try to keep pace, arrange an American tour, record new songs. We just released our live album and we go on tour in October.
Tarakany! is currently on tour in Russia through the end of November to support their live album MaximumHappy! Tarakany! is Dmitry Spirin (lead vocals), Sergey Prokofyev (drums, backing vocals), Vasily Lopatin (guitars, backing vocals), Nikolai Stravinsky (guitar), and Alexander Pronin (bass). Catch them live (if you happen to live in Russia), or check out their music. They’re well worth a listen.
by Cardiac_in_Overdrive (@cardiac_ovrdrv)