Songs Unrecantable - Ersatzmusika

Songs Unrecantable does defy belief. In fact it is one of the most beguiling releases that has found its way across my desk in some time. Performed by Ersatzmusika, a seven piece collective of Russian expats now living in Germany, Songs Unrecantable is not, I believe, an anomaly, but the tip of a global music iceberg. The band surmises the album’s intent in the brief liner notes, “Eager to outwit history, Ersatzmusika have inaugurated the Old Wave and now resurrect melodies from the late Soviet to the end of Wende (the changeover from socialism to democracy in East Germany).” As the Western world can only imagine, a whole history of recent musical artifacts from Russia’s Soviet past are now being unearthed by a new generation of artists. Like Soviet iconography (now common on tee shirts, hoodies and posters around the world), Ersatzmusika’s new treatment of the Old Wave could lead to a tidal wave of intrigue internationally for these once sequestered sounds. Adding to the allure is the thickly accented, smoky cool delivery of Irina Doubrovskaja who comes off like a Russian Marlene Dietrich or tango great Adriana Varela. The album’s cover shot of an old (we have to assume) Soviet table radio grill on the ground with weeds growing through it is telling. A little archeology in our own musical backyards may point the way to the next ‘it’ sound.