The first couple of tracks from Surfin’ USSR scream klezmer — albeit with a boingy surf inflection. With track three, the album begins a musical metamorphosis from psuedo-Jewish wedding accompaniment into what you might expect from an Eastern European quintet armed with both saxophone and accordion.
Instantly recognizable by its melody, if not its lyrics (because they’re Norwegian), “Lodtschitze Mini Maritza,” Farmer’s Market’s rendition of the 43-year-old Gerry & the Pacemakers tune, “Ferry Cross the Mersey,” is one of the freshest tracks on the album. Though some listeners may prefer jazzy numbers like “Anyone Who Remembers Vladiwoodstock Wasn’t There,” “Kalashnikov Wedding,” and “One Day, Son, All I Own Will Still Belong to the State,” my predilection is for the folksy, traditional title track along with “Dissident Harmony Sisters Camel Call,” “To Hell and Baku,” and “The Dismantling of the Soviet Onion Made Us Cry…”
Even if the mish mosh of musical styles is sometimes overwhelming, Surfin’ USSR merits space on my CD shelf for its song titles alone.
Farmer’s Market: www.farmers-market.net