Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

Mumiy Troll

Comrade Ambassador

2010-01-06

Out of the depths of the Vladivostok music scene comes a band that Russian rock aficionados will undoubtedly recognize - they formed in 1983, have had eight full-length releases and are often referred to as "Russia's most popular rock band." For most of us, however, Mumiy Troll (pronounced "Moo - Me - Troll") is still a bit obscure and largely unheard of. Recorded mostly in England, their music has often been described as a mesh between Russian rock and Brit pop. With their first American release - actually a compilation of their 7th and 8th full-lengths - perhaps these veterans are about to make their mark on U.S. soil. One of the better tracks is "Hey Tovarishch!" Here, producer, vocalist and chief songwriter Ilya Laguntenko sounds cocky and confident as he belts out "You're drinking up your aphrodisiac, and reading through your zodiac, putting lilies in your Cadillac!" "A bit of fun" is an apt description of "Musician" - a song that seems to be about the ups and downs of a singers life. Another track worthy of consideration is "Snowstorm." It's a bit hard to decipher the songs true meaning and intent but the sound here is top-notch with a nice mix of guitar, backing vocals and percussion. Perhaps the best song here is the pop-driven and yet serious "Nuclear Stations." It's a song filled with energy and features Laguntenko at his sinister best. A final bonus here is the American classic "California Dreaming" - my first time hearing the Mama's and the Papa's sung in Russian. Choosing to record outside of Russia as well as their willingness to work with foreign producers has made Mumiy Troll far more accessible than they would otherwise be. While this may not be for everyone, as all of the songs are recorded in Russian, the overall sound alone is worthy of a good deal of attention. Will you give the Troll a chance? ~Reviewed by Jeff Bouma

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