War Songs

by Vezhlivy Otkaz

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Jacampanman Vezhlivy Otkaz (aka Вежливый отказ, aka Polite Refusal) finally released this album a whole 7 years after their previous album (Гуси-лебеди). This is a totally off-the-wall mix of avant-prog. art rock and avant-garde jazz with some avant folk parts, too. It's inventive, left-field and highly enjoyable.

I really hope they release some of their other material here on BC, too. Favorite track: Sky Shooter.
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Seven years after Vezhlivy Otkaz’s highly acclaimed Geese and Swans album came out, the most original and erratic avant-rock band from Russia went back in the studio to record their long-awaited War Songs suite. Some of its pieces date as far back as summer 2008, but Otkaz, known for its meticulous approach to composition, did not rush things up, opting instead for a gradual development and experimenting with various lineups in the process – from a hard-hitting rock power trio to an extended quasi orchestra nonet.

As ever, VO’s music is much more than it appears on the surface – the band expands the boundaries of traditional song form, deconstructing it from within while taking cues from a magnitude of styles and genres of the past and present. Partly similar to what the Rock In Opposition artists were doing in the 1970s and 1980s, the band relentlessly bridges gaps between high avant-garde art and lyrical folk song, classic rock and experimental jazz, writing their own set of musical rules instead of clinging to any existing ones.

The music is free, both in its general idea and in its execution, and remains as continuously surprising as it always used to be during the band’s 30-year tenure.

“To me all this military stuff is inherently tragic, and I’m not being ironic about it; I’m completely honest here. To me it’s like a fine edge of an inflamed nerve. Hell knows what it is about, but it’s always there, inside me” (Roman Suslov)


released November 2, 2017

Roman Suslov guitar, vocal, tambourine
Dmitry Shumilov bass, double-bass, back-vocal
Mikhail Mitin drums
Andrey Solovyov trumpet, back-vocal
Pavel Tonkovid sax
Maxim Trefan grand-piano (1-5)
Pavel Karmanov grand-piano (6, 7)
Sergey Ryzhenko violin, back-vocal
Denis Yurovskiy ride cymbal, bell (8)

Released by Geometry

Music and lyrics by Roman Suslov

Recorded in Parametrika Studio (Moscow) in January-August 2017 except for Overture (December 2015)

Mixed by Denis Yurovskiy and Roman Suslov

Album artworks by Yaroslav Schwarzstein

Liner notes by Gregory Durnovo
Lyrics translations by Ilya Shlepakov
Liner notes translations by Mikhail Sizonenko

Photo by Vladimir Lavrishchev

Album make-up by Dmitry Mokshin
Booklet design and make-up by Anastasia Yeltseva

Produced by Roman Suslov and Slava Nedeoglo


all rights reserved



Vezhlivy Otkaz Moscow, Russia

Vezhlivy Otkaz was formed in 1985 with a then-popular reggae/ska blend. Since then, they have gone through numerous stylistic changes,
flirting with everything from free jazz to Russian folk. Their sound, however, has always been unique and immediately recognizable.
Suslov’s rhythmic guitar work and unusual high-pitched vocals gives VO’s music a precisely constructed,
crystal-clear sound.
... more

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Track Name: Guderian and the Ice-Cream

Gun crew!
Gun crew!
Gun crew!

Left hand!
Left hand!
Left hand!


Gun crew!
Gun crew!


Left hand!
Left hand!

Track Name: Sky Shooter
I need the intel
Where the sun is
Whence the wind blows
Velocity, force

Show the target to me
The elevation
The lead angle
Take aim

The eyelids inflamed
Fingers are squeezing
Teeth they must be clenched now
Fire! Fire!

High enough

Far enough

Clouds go puff

All smoking…

Great blue open’s

Behind him!
Track Name: We will win!
Hey worker, quit your factory
Hey peasant woman, leave your homestead
Recruiting center takes them all
The war has come again

Pick up your rifles and your guns
Attach your bayonets to barrels
Join your commander’s battle cry
The war has come again

Bullets fly unreprimanded –
War must have descended

Cavalryman, go mount your horse
Hey gunman, get your cannon ready
Tank crewman, get your helmet on
The war has come again

Guerilla, throw your hand grenade
Derail those railcars by the dozen
Hey seaman, deck your mast with flags
The war has come again

The planes fly low, encroaching
The war must be approaching

Machine gun, spray that fort with lead
Make mincemeat of the foul and wretched
The people’s spirit is not dead
As long as there’s a war

Hey Mary, wipe your tears away
On a steel horse I’ll be returning
And we will win – you bet we will –
In yet another war

And we will win – you bet we will –
In yet another war

You hear those cannons over yonder?
It’s fireworks, no wonder

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