Bella’s Bartok at Lulu’s Downstairs show preview 

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Does the world really need more accordion-wielding upstarts who’ve spent too much time worshipping at t he altars of Tom Waits and Gogol Bordello? Actually, it might.

Bella’s Bartok show all the warning signs: corrugated vocals, Balkan beats, vaudevillian theatricality. But beneath the gypsy-revivalist trappings, Asher Putnam and his fellow New Englanders may be onto something more interesting.

Over the course of two albums and an EP, they’ve shown a knack for bait-and-switch, horn-and-harmony-driven arrangements that are nearly as unpredictable as Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Punk, pop, ska, Celtic soul, klezmer, circus music — they do it all, whether you want them to or not, and you most likely will.

Putnam’s flamboyant vocal style — think Dexys Midnight Runners’ Kevin Rowland, except with a sense of humor — is the perfect foil for an idiosyncratic ensemble that can transcend its own shtick and have fun doing it.


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