THE RED ELVISES "Drinking With Jesus" Shoobah Doobah

The Red Elvises play comical tunes that are as funny as they are danceable.
The Red Elvises play comical tunes that are as funny as they are danceable.
Friday, October 10, 2008

THE RED ELVISES"Drinking With Jesus"ShoobahDoobah

THE RED ELVISES are a party band, as you might expect from the title of their latest album, "Drinking With Jesus." A group of mostly Russian emigres playing surfabilly and singing comical lyrics in a Russian accent, dropping "a," "an" and "the," for effect, the Red Elvises' 13th album continues their tradition of reliably enjoyable novelty music with a few terrific tunes per platter. "Jesus" isn't their best album, but considering the political climate, it might be their most diplomatically important.

Since their early albums, they've cultivated eclecticism. Here, there's the klezmer-influenced "Lara's Wedding," the shantylike "Into the Sun," the cabaret "Paris Waltz" and the interesting but unsatisfying N'awlins-inflected album closer, "Bourbon Street." The rest of the songs are less distinguishable, though "Twist Like Uma Thurman" nearly lives up to its nonsensically playful name.

The band has undergone several personnel changes in its 13-year career, but the sound hasn't changed much, as lead guitarist Igor Yuzov and bass balalaika player Oleg Bernov have hewed closely to the surf rock and American kitsch they've been winking at since their first record.

The Red Elvises are at their best live. They're silly and fun. What more do you need?

-- Alexander F. Remington

Appearing Saturday at Iota (703-522-8340, Show starts at 9:30 p.m.

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