Yid Vicious - Forverts!
Yid Vicious?! What's this? Yiddish punk? My curiosity was certainly aroused when I first came across the name of this band - and my envy, wish I'd thought of that name, great sobriquet! A very political-sounding name, too. So it was most gratifying when finally I was able to lay my hands on their most recent album and satisfy my curiosity. Forverts! by Yid Vicious was originally released on the Knitting Factory label in 2001 and re-issued in 2002.
So, what's with that punk-sounding name? Well, rest assured, you're not going to be blasted with a decibel-barrier breaking cacophony generated by some Jewish version of the Sex Pistols. Actually, if Forverts! is in any way representative of Yid Vicious' typical output, then they're really quite reassuringly mainstream, straight-ahead (mainly) acoustic klezmer, with just a touch of rock here and there (and a distinct "celtic" feel to the fiddle). A very fine blend it is, too.
Yid Vicious prove themselves a very lively and excellent band on Forverts!, with superb arrangements matched by excellent musicianship and performance all round. I feel compelled to comment further on the arrangements, in that they are really quite uncommonly well crafted in particular respect of the sax parts and the sax's interaction with other parts, especially with the clarinet. Rarely is the sax used so effectively in klezmer. Also, the use of the chalumeau register of the clarinet is equally effective and superb - such an under-used aspect of the clarinet, generally.
The music should be a great party mood setter. Right from the first track, Vu Bist Du Gevezyn Fur Prohibish, it's impossible to keep your feet still and you're virtually compelled to get up and dance. There's no let up of pace on Shpaykhler Tantz, and only on Vuszhe Vils Tu? is there a little temporary respite. The pace generally seems to only pick up more and more, with a few breaks to catch your breath with a slower number. A particularly fine arrangement is Gasn Nign, with a very fine opening on trumpet, followed by a superb switching of the melody between clarinet in chalumeau and sax, then on to violin, and so on. Finally, the wordless chorus enters in the final minute of the piece, rounded off with some fine restrained ensemble playing.
A very fun, likable and enjoyable album, Forverts! is a refreshing breath of fresh air and should certainly be in any good klezmer collection and will be more than at home in any good music collection. Look out for more from Yid Vicious.
© 2003 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.