Spielerfrau is the band of Michael Idov, from Brooklyn, N.Y.-via-Russia, whose songs, filled with cosmopolitan references and writerly turns of phrase, display a casual (one is tempted to reach for an easy cliché and say Nabokovian) mastery of his adopted language. On "Meringue" Idov, singing over a cold and menacing new wave backdrop, sounds like a Slavic Nick Cave, both spooked and spooky. "A Social Call" is a real treat for those of us who pine for the mordant dramatic monologues that Jarvis Cocker perfected in the mid-'90s as the frontman of Pulp. No one's written songs like that since, but Idov nails the form, inhabiting the character of the embittered loser -- defeated, but both proud and spiteful in his defeat, and fighting back with vitriolic wit: "You're not the girl I used to date, if dating's what you'd call a hate-fuck, pressed against a subway grate, in yellow snow, with trains below."
Daily Download: "A Social Call," Spielerfrau
Music from a Russian "migr" that recalls Nick Cave and Pulp.
By Salon Staff
Published September 30, 2005 7:01AM (EDT)
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