Love Hurts / Libeschmertzn
Forget that a golem is a half man, half automaton created by cabalistic rituals. For then next paragraphs, pretend it’s a band that’s mastered a tricky but interesting combination of Eastern European folk songs and modern arrangements that sound as if they were just written yesterday and a thousand years ago. True, lyrics are in the languages of old temple and market — Yiddish, Russian, and Ladino. Still, the sound is intriguing and fascinating, sort of like visiting a folk festival, except there’s no food, just happy music sung by happy people, people happy in spite of what the world throws their way. And, as explanation to each song on this disc, there’s a few lines of explanation such as the backstory for a love song called “The Dead Cossack,” or a traditional French song “Pull The Needle.” How does a dead Cossack inspire love? Well, the love already exists in a young couple, and they walk right by this poor corpse on a stroll, too deeply in love to even notice. And the other song, it’s a command by a mother to her daughter, pull the needle to finish the dress for your wedding. See? Ethnic music isn’t that hard to understand.
Love and death, weddings and funeral, all the common points of life everywhere and every time form the basis set of the music. Productions are all superb, either as tight traditional arrangements, or subject a jazzy update like “Black Cat, White Cat.” That’s a jazz arrangement all right, but not about two horn players, just a song about some pussies. Overall, Golem isn’t your regular scratchy ethnographic folk music, not deep down, but a human sound pulled forward another generation, another century, another life. And it passes the Dick Clark test — it’s got a decent beat and you can dance to it. Go, dance, bubelah, it’s your life too, you know.