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Diaspora

The Ukrainians

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Album Review

It's not that the Ukrainians do anything radically different on this album, just that they've refined their sound even more. Vocalist and violin player Len Liggins still sounds like Morrissey without the whine in overdrive, and the band can kick up an almighty racket. There's still also a wicked sense of humor, and a good choice in covers. This time it's "Dirty Revolution," a version of the oldie "Children of the Revolution," that forms an apt postscript to the Ukraine's own Orange Revolution. Overall, this time the theme is contained in the title cut, that distance from home, looking back and longing. Instrumentally, the group is better than ever, they're a band that can turn on a dime and play melodies that tug at both the heartstrings and the feet. They finish off with another cover, this time of Brahms' "Hungarian Dance," all newly rocked up for the modern world. There's something very satisfying about this disc, a bit more gravity in the sensibility, but still heavy punk blasts to the ethnicity, and some strong blasts of the musical cobwebs.

Biography

Formed: 1991 in Leeds, England

Genre: World

Years Active: '90s, '00s

"It all began as a lighthearted, one-off bit of fun," the Ukrainians wrote of their beginning, and truer words were rarely spoken. Who would have thought that the Ukrainian songs the Wedding Present played as a joke would turn into a full-fledged band with four albums to their credit? Leeds-based band the Wedding Present already had their reputation as the Energizer Bunnies of British indie rock by 1988, when they started playing the traditional Ukrainian song "Hopak" at rehearsals. It had been brought...
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