Lolo Lovina makes music that seems to come from an imaginary land nestled in the Balkans, yet somehow sunnier. Basically the band lets its Australianness colour its take on Romani (sometimes “Rromani”) music by infusing it with a host of parallel influences. Were it not done so well it would merely represent the stale art of cherry picking, but two especial strengths glue the components into a cohesive whole. One is the sheer fun factor: you hear the players enjoying themselves as tangibly as you hear the sound of the drums, saxophone or accordion. The other is Sarah Bedak’s voice, which never loses its identity, despite being malleable enough be breathy, teasing, seductive or vigorous.
There’s a cheekiness at work, too, such as seguing Ray Davies’ Sunny Afternoon – surely one of the blithest songs of the ’60s – into a traditional Romani piece, forcing a shotgun wedding between Libertango and Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps, and stirring up a snappy Paint It Black. Among the original’s guitarist Dave Carr’s Locololokolo wields Balkan, flamenco and cowboy elements into an appealing musical tongue-twister.