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Album Review

By the time they settled into the studio in 1995 to record their third album, the Ukrainians were a real band, road-hardened and serious, although a definite sense of fun continued to pervade their music. Having moved from punking-up traditional Ukrainian music to writing their own, it was easy to see the influence of the Smiths on this Leeds-based band, in both the melodies and the style of singing from "The Legendary Len Liggins." But their particular blend of U.K. indie rock mixed perfectly with the Ukrainian sound, not only making it perfectly accessible for the C86 generation, but also hewing close to the tradition on songs like the slow-smoldering "Smert," which explodes into a mass of drums and accordion, or the acoustic "Horilka," with its surprising country overtones. Offering lush backing vocals from three Ukrainian vocalists, this had more gloss than their earlier releases, but at its heart there was still the inspiration of punk — it's something you could imagine the Mekons doing if they ever had the inclination. One of the true joys of the record, however, is amending the popular Pizni Iz the Smiths EP, where they hammer their signature over four Smiths songs with great glee, connecting the dots between Manchester and the Ukraine, and showing they're a lot closer than anyone might have previously suspected.


Formed: 1991 in Leeds, England

Genre: World

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

"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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Kultura, The Ukrainians
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