Named for the Soviet spy ring that successfully infiltrated Nazi-occupied Europe, the Red Orkestra's debut album is a brilliantly dystopian take on urban folk. Frontman Johnny Charmer (formerly of the Charmers) wrote the album's music and lyrics and combines disparate influences from Blue Rodeo to Bragg, from the Smiths to Lightfoot. And like the best of urban folk, the album carefully navigates between intimate tracks and political polemics with ease while constantly maintaining a theme of struggle and resistance. The title track is a melancholic yet hopeful meditation on life after the current world order of perpetual conflict and imperialism. Hear, hear.
Red Orkestra launches After The Wars at Rancho Relaxo Saturday (May 8).