In the 1970s, when the American music market was fascinated by roots, the Eastern European mix of styles known as klezmer awoke from a 50-year sleep. Klezmer was meant to be party music, for dancing all night at Jewish weddings. But revival klezmer had a careful, preservationist atmosphere. And no matter how expertly done, a party designed by your grandparents can’t be all that exciting.
The New York band Golem have spent 14 years injecting punk attitude into the klezmer cadences. They are persistently funny, irreverent, varied in subject matter and at one moment heartbroken, the next deranged. Golem have pulled together their tightest program on their fourth album Tanz, with a title track that offers an irresistible command to dance.
-Milo Miles, Fresh Air’s rock critic
Photo by Pascal Perich