Boris Grebenshikov and Aquarium

Author: Kathi Whalen
Source: The Washington Post
Date: August 3, 1989

Boris Grebenshikov doesn’t bring much of a Russian rock tradition to his songs, but that’s understandable—until he and his band Aquarium began performing in the late ‘70s, the Soviet Union had no rock tradition to draw from. Tuesday night at the Bayou, the much-hyped singer knew he had something to prove, and the honesty in his performance made one forget that to Western ears, there’s little that’s innovative about his music.

Most of Grebenshikov’s strongest material was not rock at all, but, rather, softly shimmering passages such as "The Wind," enhanced by wind chimes and his own mannered, lightly accented vocals. The scope of influences he’s picked up stretched beyond the expected Beatles riffs: A conga-steered, reggaefied "Mother" was matched later by some playful ska. While the thumping keyboards of "The Postcard" and "That Voice Again" didn’t merit Grebenshikov’s overemotional delivery, no apologies were needed for "Radio Silence." Its lyrics describe Grebenshikov’s wish to tell about his country and share his music, and the tense, quick-moving melody renders that an easy request to grant.

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