Generally, bands either thrive in the studio or on the stage. While a band can be very good in both arenas, it will typically be just a little bit better at one or the other.
New Orleans’ premiere (only) “Russian Mafia Band,” Debauche is most definitely a live band. Debauche’s latest, Songs from Underground, successfully recreates the band’s live sound, albeit without quite as much raucousness.
The music is crafted to be best enjoyed dancing with a beer in one hand and a shot of vodka (probably bought by one of the band members) in the other rather than sitting alone in one’s office listening on computer speakers.
None of this is to say that Songs from Underground is without merit.
The album captures the rollicking intensity of a Debauche performance, shown best in “Creepy Song,” which starts with a jazzy bass riff before morphing into a klezmer groove and speeding up to a frantic, near-uncontrollable pace.
“Rabinovich” offers a stomping rhythm while singer Yegor Romantsov growls in his native Russian in a manner that is simultaneously endearing and somewhat frightening.
Debauche provides a livewire of a record when it jams and while saving some of the weirder tracks in the back half. “Buzar Vokzal” shows a romantic side to the band, and the closing “Gulag Song” strips the arrangements down to Romantsov’s vocals and a guest guitar spot from Georgy Petrov, showcasing the tortured intimacy that often follows the party.