Golem!: Fresh Off Boat


Coming from the not-for-profit JDub label, Golem! brings back the sights and sounds of Bar Mitzvahs and Lower East Side weddings past, with a touch of the modern.  Firmly rooted in the Jewish Klezmer tradition, this six-piece kvetches in Hebrew while strumming violins with twirling grace.  Sticking to their traditional roots, they offer only one original song on the album, and maybe that is where the problem lies. 

On the stand-alone original “Warsaw is Khelm,” the band hardwires past influences into the sound; then opens up and energizes the track with propulsive snare drum and an energy that is absent on the rest of the album.  There are a few other tracks where the manic rumbling shows up, “Charlatan-Ka” being one, along with the chair raising “Golem Hora” and “The Rent,” which scrambles, threatening to explode, but like the others, ends before the pop. 

All told, this band hints that they would throw a hell of a party, but the majority of this collection remains too restrained.  If Golem! would have let their raven hair down and stomped around the studio a bit more, Fresh Off Boat could have risen above kitsch.

For more info see: golemrocks.com

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