Now we all know that Russia’s political system is f**ked up and the government doesn’t take too kindly to protest and opposition. Just look at Pussy Riot and how many times the girls in the band have been arrested or had force used against them for simply conveying their point of view through musical and performance protest.
What separates Tarakany! from a group like Pussy Riot besides the obvious differences is that the band actually plays scheduled shows at traditional music venues and festivals and doesn’t stage demonstrations in public areas or churches which is greatly frowned upon by Russian leaders and their supporters. However the message is quite similar, they are calling the government out for its corruption and they would like to see real change in their homeland.
The latest album from Tarakany! is entitled “Russian Democrazy” which pretty much sums it up. From the footage I’ve witnessed online of their performances the band appears to have a huge following in Russia and beyond. If you have never heard the band before I encourage you to give them a listen, they have released nearly a dozen full length studio albums and have created plenty of material over the past two decades and then some.
Their sound at times reminds you of classic essential punk-rock music like Pennywise but the message is as politically charged as Anti-Flag. In fact the second track on the album “God and Police” Features Chris Barker of Anti-Flag in which a music video was recently released with footage of a live performance from Dobrofest. Although this track is mostly in Russian the majority of their songs are in English.
Other stand out tracks from the album would be #10-Smile (Because It Irritates Them) and #11 – Anesthesia; and my favorite lyrics are from the first song on the album Heart of a Dog “fear, afraid of the things that I see”. Although Russia’s political outrage has been more transparent than that of the United States over the last half of a century I can certainly relate to this line because I am afraid of what I see in my own country these days.
Overall I really dig this album and I have added it to my keeper collection far away from the garage sale bargain pile that I’ve compiled and that crap that ends up in my desktop recycle bin. I give the album 4 out of 5 stars but track number 12 is called Mr. Music Critic, so who the f**k am I? Draw your own conclusion and if you were wondering Tarakany! “Тараканы” translates to Cockroaches!
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