Ramones-core has been around a long time now. The Ramones started releasing records in 1976, and pretty much finished in 1997 (though there have been many releases of live recordings and the like in the years since). The Ramones inspired untold legions of imitators, including Wyoming’s Teenage Bottlerocket, probably the state of the art in Ramones-core today. The sort of music The Ramones made back then was new and revolutionary. But too much of a good thing and all. Ramones-core can get over-done, repetitive, and boring, especially if not expertly executed. In the case of Volkov, the band from “Russia,” the execution is a bit uneven. They do have some excellent harmonized backing vocals on some of the songs, but some songs have some backing vocals that fall a little flat. The opening track, “Autumn in Bijsk,” starts with a derivative shout of “1 2 3 4!” and is in a minor key, which is the best part of the song. The harmonizing doesn’t quite seem to work here, and the vocals just sound a bit off. Likewise, the backing vocals on “Raining Shit” just don’t sound right, like they’re off key. The lead vocals on the longer sustained notes, too, vary in pitch too much. This isn’t just nitpicking a DIY recording. It’s off-putting trying to listen to it. “Shy Guy,” on the other hand, is one of the better-executed songs on the LP, with a bouncy melody with some originality to it, well-harmonized vocals, and a smooth, pretty outro. But most of this record just is too derivative, too lacking in originality, and just not well enough played and sung to keep my interest. I think in much smaller doses, one song at a time, this might work better, but a full album is too much.
Check it out here: https://momsbasementrecords.bandcamp.com/album/volkov-fat-rich-and-sad