Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Gulag Tunes - Love Melodiesdotdotdotdot
artworkThis is the third in The Vivisectors' Love Melodies series. Lots more beautiful and haunting Russian melodies brought up to date. A very creative series.
Picks: Baby Dolphin, Silly Woman, Marusya Is Poisoned Herself, Vagabond, My Beauty, Dot Of Light, Night, Varangian Song, On Moldavanka, Testimony Of Innocent Man, Cranes

Track by Track Review


Baby Dolphin dotdotdot
Gulag Rock (Instrumental)

"Baby Dolphin" has a ghostly sound via the stereo guitar treatment, and a light hearted energy. The melody is very pretty. The song's easy sound and pumping bass line create a warm and friendly appeal. This was only moderately interesting at first, but soon enough, I decided that I liked it. Kinda poppy, yet genuine.

Silly Woman dotdotdotdot
Gulag Rock (Instrumental)

The Russian melody driven into stereo delay and rhythmic frenzy is an interesting combination of sadly fluid flow and infectious rhythm. "Silly Woman" has a delay-driven guitar sound that's light and endearing, and the chop chord rhythms brought me back for repeated listenings.

Marusya Is Poisoned Herself dotdotdotdot
Gulag Rock (Instrumental)

Giant dark chords and evil laughter dramatically begin "Marusya Is Poisoned Herself," which soon enough becomes a very solid track with moody bass, surf drums, an emotional melody, and spatial sound. Quite nice.

Vagabond dotdotdot
Gulag Rock (Instrumental)

"Vagabond" has a decidedly Shadows appeal via the guitar delay, though structurally and aurally, it's not like that. The frothy pop melody and rhythm are warm and friendly. Very easy to enjoy.

My Beauty dotdotdotdot
Gulag Rock (Instrumental)

"My Beauty" is a broadly textured track with a bouncy sound and pumping rhythm. The delays and the pumping rhythm are the keys to the track's success.

The melody is based on "By The Long Road," as the literal translation indicates, or "Those Were The Days," which was written by Boris Fomin in the thirties, with lyrics from Russian poet Konstantin Podrevskii, but popularized in the west with lyrics written by Gene Raskin and made a hit by Mary Hopkins.

Dot Of Light dotdotdot
Gulag Rock (Instrumental)

"Dot Of Light" is a very cool song with a dry muted rhythm pattern that gives it a gulag rock feel. The echoed lead guitar makes it sound sadder in some ways.

Thief Woman Will Never Stand The Laundress dotdotdot
Gulag Rock (Instrumental)

Verging on abrasive in the beginning and in the bridge, "Thief Woman Will Never Stand The Laundress" is a smooth and sadly romantic piece with a lovely melody and slightly soaring sound.

Night dotdotdot
Gulag Rock (Instrumental)

Big dry rhythms and chords open, and circling second guitar with smooth bass support a haunted melody. The keys add sadness to an already kismet sound. Pretty and slightly churning.

Varangian Song dotdotdotdot
Gulag Rock (Instrumental)

A bit of island or desert whammy gives "Varangian Song" a sense of space an sunset. The melody of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's "Varangian Song" is very well suited for Gulag Tunes interpretation. Pretty, haunting, and nearly surfable.

Flowing River dotdot
Gulag Rock (Instrumental)

Extreme stereo delay on the lead guitar makes "Flowing River" sound less melodic than it is. The production here overwhelms the song's grace and charm.

On Moldavanka dotdotdotdot
Gulag Rock (Instrumental)

The pumping organ gives "On Moldavanka" a carnival sound, creating a surreal atmosphere in which this beautiful melody floats. This is a really nice track. It's haunting and sad, yet full of life and hope. A very fine track.

Testimony Of Innocent Man dotdotdot
Gulag Rock (Instrumental)

With an almost klezmer rhythm track, "Testimony Of Innocent Man" has a sort of gypsy feel at times. Some cool whammy chords and dry chop chords give it a playful and innocent sound.

Cranes dotdotdot
Gulag Rock (Instrumental)

Blue moody bass, delicate tremolo guitar notes, dry muted rhythm, and a softly whirling keyboard support the gentle melody line with heart and romance. "Cranes" is a delicate track with quiet perseverance. Very pretty.