no nonsense no frills just straight up fantastic celtic-punk from Belarus.
Well here we go and I am well out of my comfort zone here so apologies to the band if I don’t do them the justice they deserve for this fantastic album. I first came across Всё Crazy only a month or so ago on the Tribute To The Pogues compilation that we reviewed back at the end of March. The album was mostly bands from eastern Europe and one of those bands was Всё Crazy performing a rarely heard track ‘My Babys Gone’, off the first post-Shane LP Waiting For Herb, and boy in an album full of great tracks it just jumped right out at me. Chasing them up afterwards it seems they had also recently released an album and here it is.
Всё Crazy hail from Belarus which up until 1991 was part of the Soviet Union and their name (pronounced ‘vsio crazy’) translates as ‘All crazy’ and after one listen to ‘По Морям’ I think they may be right… but in a good way! Officially the Republic of Belarus, it is bordered by Russia to the north east, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the north west. They come from the capital city Minsk and amazingly in this day and age over 40% of Belarus 207,600 square km is forest. During WWII Belarus was devastated losing about a third of its population and more than half of its economic resources. With such a history of tragedy and oppression then it is perhaps no surprise that the celtic-punk scene is booming and along with Всё Crazy keep an eye out for the long established Dzieciuki and newcomers Dohodyaggi.
Всё Crazy formed way back in 2002 playing music of various genres, from reggae to blues rock. The core of the band settled down in 2006 following multiple line up changes. In 2012 they released a CD called ‘Телипыч’ (‘Telipych’) which compiled the best of the band from these days but it became a turning point for the band and straight after that Всё Crazy changed course and became a celtic-punk band going on to release an EP titled ‘St Patrick’s Day’ in 2014. As Alex the vocalist says
“We began celebrating St. Patrick’s day in our country about 10 years ago, it was a new experience for us. We found that Irish people have a lot in common with Belarusians, for instance, drinking a lot and eating potatoes! The same similarity we found between celtic and slavic folk tunes. Altogether, it resulted in the music we play today”
‘По Морям’ (pronounced: Po Moryam) translates into English as ‘over the seas’ which is apt as the album is dedicated to countries, like Belarus, that are land locked and live without a sea. Not that that has put them off singing about celtic-punks most popular subject and the album is peppered with sea faring songs. The album was produced by Siarhiej ‘Szloma’ Łabandziewski and the band’s frontman Anton ‘Sir’ Sirotin and
“The starry heavens above me and the moral law within me”
was the guide for Всё Crazy while composing and recording the album but those of a nervous disposition be careful of the sometimes colourful language (mind you unless you speak Russian that won’t matter much). All the songs are sung in Russian, the main language of Belarus but you’d have to be an absolute idiot if you’d let that put you off hearing this fantastic LP.
Now obviously I can’t tell you much about the song subjects but you can get a pretty good idea from the translations of the song titles. We don’t give a shit that that they don’t sing in English as from chatting to Alex from the band its obvious that they could but why should they? Kicking off with ‘Песня рыбака’ (The Fisherman’s Song) and straight away you know you are in for a good time. All your favourite celtic instruments are here as well as a good thrashy rock’n’roll guitar before shouty gang vocals start up and I know that I am going to enjoy the next forty odd minutes. This is followed by ‘Невеста’ (The Bride) with some beautiful female vocals and ‘Домой’ (Coming Home) slows it down a bit but I’m getting a good vibe here.
This is good time music and even though I am sure they are better to see live they have done a great job in transferring their sound. It sounds to be like they added some of their homelands folk music into the mix and it certainly works for me. The vocals are of the raspy, hoarse kind of metally way of ‘singing’ but in a genre not famed for its crooning that should be the least of anyone’s worries! It’s not all breakneck speed and the band prove they can turn their hand to fast and slow as well as fast’n’slow in the same song too. Next is the album title track ‘По морям’ (Over the Seas) an accordion led and a jolly good romp it is too sounding sort of like a eastern European Flogging Molly!
‘Ботинок в жопе’ (The Shoe in the Ass) has a sort of funky ceilidh type of thing going on and is the sort of track you could see breaking through. Maybe they should enter it into the Eurovision Song Contest for Belarus! We are half way through and its all proving that their track on The Pogues comp was no fluke as Всё Crazy rattle along very nicely with ‘Завязал’ (I Quit Drinking) up next and the diversity on this album is what is standing out here for me. По Морям flows together seamlessly even though they change style and tradition from song to song (and sometimes mid song like here) but it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the album at all. Никогда (Never) is the shortest song on the album and strays into country territory somehow. More dual male/female vocals top it off grand and if I did have the tiniest tiniest wee quibble it would be that they could maybe have turned the electric guitar up a wee bit but that is very much a personal thing I’d agree. The album’s sole ballad follows and ‘Потомки правой руки’ (Descendants of the Right Hand) is not quite Poguesy but almost as it builds up and up becoming one of those swirling around the dance floor pints in the air kind of songs. They save the best for last and speed it up for ‘Частушки матросские’ (Sailor’s Limericks) before final song ‘Д.С.П.’ (St. Patrick’s Day) brings the curtain down on this super album.
So ten songs with no covers and over forty minutes of quality celtic-punk music that demands to be heard from all with a interest in celtic music. They have taken celtic music and added their take on it and made something really interesting. We have waxed lyrically before about how wonderful we find it that celtic-punk has gone international over the last few years. Gone are the days when celtic-punk was solely played in the places where the Irish or other Celts settled and these days some of the best bands in the scene are not only from Canada or Australia or the USA but place like Belarus or Indonesia or Brazil. They deserve a fair hearing and we really hope you give them a try you won’t be disappointed.
(listen to the whole album by pressing play on the Soundcloud player below)
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you can get a free download of the Tribute To The Pogues compilation album starring Всё Crazy here. Twenty seven bands from over a dozen countries and near ninety minutes of the best celtic-punk from some of the best celtic-punk bands in the scene today and yes you read that right it’s all for FREE!