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Reviewed by Aleisha Ward

Klezmer Rebs: Always A Pleasure

Reviewed by Aleisha Ward

Klezmer Rebs: Always A Pleasure

You remember when your mum told you to not judge a book by its cover? Well, the latest album by Wellington band Klezmer Rebs is a bit like that. The cover is not designed for people with dodgy eyesight (like myself), and I had to resort to their Bandcamp page to find track titles and recording information. The music on the fourth album is a mix of traditional and modern klezmer works (from Der Heyser Bulger to Django Reinhardt’s Minor Swing both of which are standouts), and includes a couple of originals written within the seven-member band. The album was produced, engineered, recorded and mixed by Matt Hudson at his studio in Featherston, with strings player David Weinstein co-producing. While a pleasant and nicely-varied listen, ‘Always A Pleasure’ lacks the pathos and excitement of a lively klezmer band, and even feels a little bit routine in some places. Bay Mir Bist Di Shoeyn is famous in many swing versions (Bei Mir Bistu Shein elsewhere), but here, for example, the Rebs’ have taken a rather low energy cabaret approach. For newly interested klezmer listeners this is however a good introduction to the repertoire and sounds, without risking intimidation from some of the more extreme aspects of the genre. • Aleisha Ward