Russia Meets California
6000miles | Los Angeles, CA USA | 10/11/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Unfaithful Syncopations" represents the creative peak of Alex Kiskachi, which hinged on the talent of the band's musicians and the genius of Alex Kiskachi. The title of genius is a bedraggled laurel at this stage, but it rests easy on Alex Kiskachi's bare head. What he achieved was to create, or recreate, a particular atmosphere, a bastard hybrid of musical offhand learning and russian traditional music's love of tragedy and sentiment. This world encompassed the piss-soaked streets of Moscow and the less piss-soaked streets of Irvine, CA, the surf-sunny shores of California, and hazy memories of a pastoral Russia that may never have existed. Despite the diversity of their locations Alex Kiskachi imbued each song with his own bravado, in which the skull can be clearly seen behind the drunken vodka grin.
Despite the degradation and the squalor, the characters' humanity never disappears. This is partly through the judicious weaving of adapted traditional songs and original material. (The musical skill of the rest of the band on these tracks works both ways--lending an authentic, almost diastolic rhythm to Kiskachi-penned songs while punching-up the more traditional inspired ballads into something that would keep the band's notoriously raucous audiences stoked). Such tracks work because their folk qualities make the suffering they describe seem authentic. And Alex Kiskachi's sureness with lyrics allowed him to mirror these emotions, whether exuberant or melancholy, without it ever seeming a pose."