Gypsy prog: July 15th, 2008 - Velvet Lounge, Washington, DC
Vialka combine the manic, stop-start spasticity characteristic of so much proggy avant-rock with a melodic sense that draws straight from Eastern European folk and what I ignorantly categorize in my head as “French music.” There’s a sense of whimsy that’s very un-American going on in their writing, which probably makes them sound ridiculous to some of the more jaded types out there, but gives them a certain irrepressible charm for me.
In concert, all the quirkiness embedded in the compositions came out in the open. I got a chance to chat with both band members - Eric Boros, the guitarist, and Marylise Frecheville, the drummer - before and after the show, and my very enjoyable conversations with them gave no hint of their stage personalities. When the show began, Eric donned a shiny metallic shirt and Marylise a sequined spaghetti strap top and the quirkiness just kept going from there. They danced around a lot - Marylise leapt up from behind her kit to dance in the middle of the crowd on two occasions, and Eric was bouncing around with a huge grin on his face the whole time - but more than that, their personalities just seemed to shine through in the vocals and the sometimes hilariously disjointed rhythms.
——Brandon Wu / BrandonWuPhotography (07/2008)
VIALKA: December 11th, 2005 - The Patifon, Tel Aviv, Israel
"Vialka?" was my initial response when I was first notified of the band that threatened to conquer Israel in its mini tour. "What do they play?" was, of course, the question to follow. I think I have yet to receive the unequivocal answers, although on the duo’s homepage its music is referred to as "gypsy turbofolkpunk" and France is pointed as its current homeland. These, however, don’t seem to matter much once you witness the band in action. Vialka may be anonymous but they are working to the point of exhaustion in order to spread their music worldwide (and once again, a look in the proper section of their homepage reveals the duo’s extensive and highly packed touring); and judging from its Israeli gigs the outfit does that for an affordable, nearly symbolic, price of admission even when compared to the local counterculture/alternative scene. Despite the above, the word was the Israeli crowd kept its cool and did not hurry to attend the band’s previous gigs; and the closing set of the tour (discussed here) seemed, at the designated, official show time, to share the same destiny. Slowly but surely, however, the Patifon, one of Tel Aviv’s most intimate alternative clubs, got packed with one hundred people or so, before the set began. Then, the duo went on stage: drummer Marylise Frecheville went up in an old-fashioned robe and wig, failing to disguise her young looks that were later further uncovered with some more minimal clothes; guitarist Eric Boros appeared in an official suit, which could have been misleading if it was not for the fact that their power and volume did not tarry to follow. One word which would definitely come up in order to do describe Vialka is "noise," as the volume soared above any proportions to the two instruments played, mostly thanks to the layers of guitars Boros overdubbed entirely live with his sampling equipment. Another one, which might be a bit more observant to the material, is "post": folk as they blended some Balkan, Mediterranean and chansons; punk, for the music has a direct punch, and progressive for the dynamic shifts. But the duo did not fit comfortably into any of the previously mentioned genres (hence the "post") and their amalgamation was their own. At times they reminded me of Kruzenshtern & Parohod in being appealing and catchy yet unflattering. Unlike K&P though, Vialka were flirting with the audience without being limited to a frame, and their dynamics were evolving instead of deviating and regressing. The duo claimed to be exhausted after a long recording session that day, but that did not seem to affect their engaging drive and willingness to rock the house. In fact, as if she did not have enough with her wild playing, Frecheville occasionally came down from the stage into the audience to perform her own sort of ritual dance. As for the punch – you’ll get plenty of those if you go check them out yourself!
——Avi Shaked / Maelstrom - Issue 41