Saturday, March 1, 2008

Laika and the Cosmonauts - Laika Sex Machine - Live

A buddy of mine came back from Finland where he was visiting his fiancée and gave me a tape of “this whacked out Finnish surf band” which he said was right up my alley – and he was right. I loved the tape and it took years to find out who it was.

Brandonio over at RockisDeadRIP posted their fist lp - go get it there - and gave this one a major 2 thumbs up.

Review –Finland's favorite retro-rockers rev up with a generous 26-song, 75-minute set of music recorded live, predominantly in 1998 and on their home turf. Except for some brief introductions in both English and the band's native tongue, this is a non-stop roller coaster ride through instrumental rock & roll. The quartet plays with fire and fury whether covering genre classics like "Telstar" or obscurities such as Roy Budd's theme to "Get Carter." Not surprisingly, a Ventures tune gets worked in, but the group digs deep into the California band's catalog to unearth "Fugitive." The foursome charges through a unique combination of Bernard Herrmann's themes from Psycho and Vertigo in a composite renamed "Psyko." "Mission Impossible" also gets the Laika treatment as they speed and trash it up in a breathless version that doesn't break the two-minute mark. While not as recognizable, the group churns out originals with as much flair touching on hard rock with a slight Spanish matador approach on "Look! No Head!" and the "Walk Don't Run"-styled "Floating" which stands as a contemporary surf classic. Many of these tracks appear in less frantic fashion on the band's studio albums, but the live approach electrifies these versions. Certainly you'll never hear "Ode to Billy Joe" the same way after experiencing Laika's take on the song (which they rename "Sauna-Soul" for no apparent reason). With its extended playing time, there is plenty of room for experimentation on a low-down run-through of Henry Mancini's "Experiment in Terror," a showcase for Matti Pitsinki's distorted organ sounds. The rhythm section is spry but stays out of the way of the lead guitar and keyboards that drive this music. Crowd noise is minimal to non-existent, smartly keeping the focus on the tight musicianship and superbly well-recorded tunes. Better and more lively than the group's slightly less compelling studio albums, this is a rousing live performance from one of contemporary music's most talented and creative instrumental combos. Hal Horowitz

1 The Hypno-Wheel 2 Disconnected 3Sycophant 4 Tantrum 5 Floating 6 Turquoise 7 Boris the Conductor 8 Look! No Head! 9 Experiment in Terror 10 The Avengers 11 Circumstantial Evidence 12 Hi & Lo 13 Café Equator 14 Lands End 15 Psyko 16 Mission Impossible 17 Get Carter 18 Global Village 19 Enchanted Rock 20 C'mon Do the Laika! 21 Fugitive 22 Ba-Ha-Re-Bah! 23 Fadeaway 24 Sauna-Soul 25 Telstar 26 Vendetta



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