Punk has the power to cross time, oceans, and even make it out of the claws of Russia virtually unscathed. Formed in 1988 in Moscow, NAIVE did something that is hard to believe – they were unabashedly punk in Russia. Did it matter that they were ten years after the first wave of punk in the more western parts of Europe? Not really. They flew in the face of everything that was “right” and “good” in Russia.
Proudly anti-communist, they even set up in front of the Russian parliament to play a show and proclaim that “Boris Yeltsin is an asshole.” NAIVE has the distinction of being the first Russian punk to have music released to a US audience, fittingly enough by the still thriving zine Maximum Rock and Roll. The band partied hard, drank a lot (which is the case with many punks and many Russians), lost band members to drugs, moved to US for a time, and still put out fast, furious rock that explored self-destruction, rallied against being a cog in the machine, and got popular enough to be on Russian radio. After nine albums, it’s clear that these guys have the punk ethos and sound down which should not surprise anyone after almost 30 years of sticking to their guns. Fast, loud, ferocious punk. Think NOFX or early Green Day but soaked in vodka and the reality of growing up in the Soviet Union and living in modern day authoritarian Russia.
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