Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Elektron - Elektronadotdotdot
artworkThis is a 1967 release from a Russian band that borders on rock and surf just a bit. Considering this was a legitimate release behind the Iron Curtain, this is quite remarkable. "Granada" is particularly well done.
Picks: Chernii Kot, Melodiya Iz Filma Bum, Postup Veka, Vsegda Vmeste, 4+4, Prazdnik Ritma, Vernis, Pesenka O Velelom Vetre, Delokado, Ty Ne Pechalsya, Pesnya O Lyubvi, Grenada

Track by Track Review

Chernii Kot dotdotdot
Russian Pre-Surf (Instrumental)

In a twisted sort o way, this pays homage to The Munsters theme. Totally goofy, slightly jazzy, and very fun in a grinning sort of way.

Melodiya Iz Filma Bum dotdotdot
Russian Pre-Surf (Instrumental)

The String-A-Longs' "Wheels" is covered in a surprisingly solid fashion, despite being somewhat Buddy Merrill-ish. Less rock than the original, and with some minor melody variations, the track is nonetheless an intriguing look into totalitarian rock'n'roll. Very interesting.

Postup Veka dotdotdotdot
Russian Pre-Surf (Instrumental)

Verging on actual rock, "Postup Veka" sports a cool guitar riff and playful rhythm, but is marred by chorus lines like were used sometimes in Britain in the early days. Actual drums and punch! Pretty darn cool!

Vsegda Vmeste dotdotdot
Russian Pre-Surf (Instrumental)

"Vsegda Vmeste" is extremely close to Matty Malneck, and Johnny Mercer's 1936 pop song "Goody Goody," except that the chorus is "hey golly golly." Pretty fun.

4+4 dotdotdot
Russian Pre-Surf (Instrumental)

Odd use of chorus in a kind of scat method as an instrument without lyrics gives "4+4" a fifties Hollywood faux beat jazz hipster air. The melody is related to Duke Ellington's 1932 composition "It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)." Imagine the cheese ball sound of The Anita Kerr Singers with rock guitar.

Prazdnik Ritma dotdotdotdot
Russian Pre-Surf (Instrumental)

With drums and bass clearly born of swing, "Prazdnik Ritma" is one snazzy number. The drums truly make this work, not that the guitar isn't cool, 'cuz it is. This is perhaps the most raucous piece of music from this album.

Vernis dotdotdot
Russian Pre-Surf (Instrumental)

"Vernis" is actually a cover of Alberto Dominguez' "Perfidia," likely based on jazz guitar versions. This is a smooth rendering with none of the spunk of The Ventures, but it's pretty cool nonetheless. A few semi-military drum fills add an unusual sense to it.

Pesenka O Velelom Vetre dotdot
Russian Pre-Surf (Instrumental)

This is a goofy organ track with a flippant melody and very light sound. Utterly forgettable.

Delokado dotdot
Russian Pre-Surf (Instrumental)

Valdir Azevedo's "Delicado" is done much as a hundred others did it, in a light and easy listening kind of way. Some nice guitar work makes it palatable.

Ty Ne Pechalsya dotdotdot
Russian Pre-Surf (Instrumental)

IN a cross between a "Pink Panther"-ish silliness and a sidewalk cafe semi spy ethic, "Ty Ne Pechalsya" is surprisingly interesting despite its easy listening low energy and completely non-offensive manner.

Pesnya O Lyubvi dot
Russian Pre-Surf (Instrumental)

This is a slow moving number with horrid organ lead and completely dismissible sound. This is certainly not better than the sounds that emanated from music stores in the fifties where pre-nerds in white shirts swayed back and forth while playing overbearing faux-drama pop songs. Argh!

Grenada dotdotdot
Russian Pre-Surf (Instrumental)

This is a very nice instrumental with tremolo guitar playing in relatively rich tone in the lower registers. The rhythm track shimmers a bit too. Perhaps more rock instro than most here, "Grenada" is very nice. Its energy isn't particularly high, but it has a more genuine band sound and an emotional connection.