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(47:05; [addicted label])
The first thing one notices immediately is of course the picture of Jacques-Yves Cousteau on the cover. Many my age will remember avidly watching Ď"The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteauí, and the band describe this album as a variety of musical styles like the richness of the undersea world. Formed in Moscow in 2004, the duo of bassist Mikhail "Han" Ivanov and drummer Roman Karandaev soon brought in guitarist Ivan "Vanish" Khvorostukhin, but they didnít record their first demo until 2010, by which time Karandaev had been replaced by Viktor Tikhonov. Keyboard player Peter "Peyote-R" Bolotov joined in 2011, and this 2015 release was their second album. They define their own music as progressive punk (their most recent album is actually called ĎFrogressive Punkí), and they state that they are inspired by a ďmix of alternative rock, funk, psychedelia and punk rock, Mike Patton's projects, funk-metal, early Queen, improvisational music of different genres, comics, circus and 80's films. For this album they brought in additional guests, use film snippets (including Cousteau), and musically are all over the place. Even most avant garde bands have some sort of basis on which the listener can understand what is happening and where the music may be going. But here we can be listening to ska-style hardcore which drops into funk, or hard rock, or Can, or all of this at once with Fantomas also being an obvious influence. It is a mess, but interestingly I still canít say if I donít like it, as each time I play it I wonder what on earth I am doing, and know that 99.9% of people I could play this to would loath it with a passion, but there is the niggle of that 0.01% who may well think these guys have something. Screams, latin percussion, metal, swathes of symphonic keyboards, there is room for all of it and just because I canít recognise a kitchen sink doesnít mean it isnít in there somewhere. That they know what they are doing and have the musical ability to carry it out is never in doubt. But there are times I feel I am in a musical maze which contains trapdoors and multiple levels which can drop me into chaos at any point Ė just when I think Iím getting a hang of it. If ever there was a band to listen to before purchase, then it has to be these guys. Only for those who want their music to be strange, weird and challenging.
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