I finally took some time to take a listen to the albums I mentioned below, which includes L'viv-based Fayno, Ivano-Frankivsk-based, Pan Pupets, and Rivne's very own Ot Vinta.
Fayno's album I ta lyubov put out on the UkrMusic label. I've heard this trio perform live before, however there is always a difference between a studio album and the energy that exists when at a live performance. The beginning of the of the seventh track of the album, Bezsonnya, particularly the harmonica and drum work reminded me of a group from down under I used to listen to, the Hoodoo Guru's, in fact this is one of two tracks whose words were written by vocalist Olha Korniychuk. The other track Fayno also has some drive that I found lacking in the other tracks.
All eleven tracks of the album are definitely worth a listen, and fortunately does not suffer from the over production that may Ukrainian artists suffer. The album still holds somewhat of a raw sound to it which will I feel will be more appreciated by those who are looking for a non-perfected sound. On the tunes which are mellower and a little more folksy, Korniychuk's voice has a tint of Joni Mitchell with a mix of other female artists.
Pan Pupets' debut album is an interesting mix of guitar work, bass and some rythyms familiar to the Pre-Carpathian region of Ukraine with a little bit of an island sound on some of the tracks. Songs like Kurvamama, "Chorna Volha" and Prodadvtsia Yajets all have hints of social commentary, with the last of the three parodizing the issue of eggs and the role they played in Ivano-Frankivsk during the 2004 Presidential election, particularly for Viktor Fedorovych.
If you are looking for an album that is filled with guitar, bass and drum work and not necessarily completely refined, then all twelve tracks of this album are for you. I would probably have to listen to it a couple of dozen of times before I could pick out the things I like and dislike about it, but it is a fresh sound and the over produced world of Ukraine's musicians it is always nice to hear something as raw and enthusiastic.
Ot Vinta has been around for quite some time now and over the last couple of years have been involved in the Ne budte Bajduzhem civic movement in order to encourage the use of Ukrainian in popular culture. Hence, I was not at all surprised when started listening to Poperedu Zhakhy Shlyakhy album and heard remakes of such songs as Jikhav Kozak, Shabelyno and Oj Chy tsej Kin' Sotjit' I was not at all surprised. But when I hit the twelfth track and their re-make of Dva Kol'ory which had a mix of country and an Island sound.
In addition Zhuravel and his boys used sound tracks of six well known, Soviet and post-Soviet films in their 16 track album, which is clearly full of drive and energy. I think if you want to have some fun dancing to something truly contemporary when it comes to Ukrainian music, this latest album of Ot Vinta is worth picking up... It is simply a lot of fun! : ) In particularly their last track and remake of Ty kazala u nediliu!