Despite the fact that the Paris-based Radical Jewish Culture quartet Zakarya have issued four previous recordings since 2001, the title of this offering shouldn't be misunderstood. Rather, it should be understood in Zakarya's manner of thinking -- with great irony. None of the 11 tracks on Greatest Hits has been recorded by the band before. Instead, these are all new compositions. A scan of the titles reveals the inherent joke readily: "Moshe B. Goode," "Smoke on the Dead Sea," "Another Goy Bites the Dust," "Stairway to Eden," "Rock Around the Kibboutz," "Mrs. Rubenstein," "Sweet Home Olam Haba," etc. That said, these are not new versions of the songs they take their titles from, but truly new compositions by Zakarya's members. The meld of hard and math rock, jazz, and traditional Jewish music is as infectious, and perhaps more expansive, than it has been on any of the instrumental band's previous offerings, despite the kitschy concept. Yves Weyh's accordion, Alexandre Wimmer's guitars, Vincent Posty's bass, and Pascal Gully's drum kit meld sophisticated compositional structures to improvisation and heady dynamics to create a series of tunes that are among the briefest in the band's oeuvre, but also the most satisfying. Zakarya's Greatest Hits is solid, a winner through and through.
Greatest Hits Review
by Thom Jurek