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World Music CD Reviews North American

YID VICIOUS

By Bruce Carnevale
Published April 26, 2006

Forverts!
Knitting Factory Records

Were one to take their name seriously, one might expect something quite hardcore. Instead, Yid Vicious, a septet (clarinet, fiddle, trumpet, saxophones, percussion, guitars, and upright bass) from in or around Wisconsin, plays traditional klezmer with a lot of American pop music influences. Their name is a serious misnomer, though they know this—nonetheless, there is none of the in-your-face near-violence of the Sex Pistols, or their anti-social and suicidal bassist, Sid Vicious. Yid Vicious plays it safe, and that’s a little too bad, since there is so much music of this kind. They run through some classics, treating none of them really reverently. “A Gleyzele Vayn” [A glass of wine] begins with Phil Spector drums. “Shpaykhler Tants” [Barn Dance] sports country chord progressions, “Kammen Islands Medley” ska beats. “Koyaaniskocne” kicks off with ersatz Philip Glass minimalism. Nice and dandy, but the irreverence is fun rather than deep. Maybe this is all they intend. It sound like a blast to hear live, with all the accoutrements of Yiddish culture; preserved on CD, however, it sounds bit mild.