Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Laika and the Cosmonauts - Laika Sex Machinedotdotdot
artworkThe first official live Laika and the Cosmonauts CD recorded over a year's time on the road. Excellent sound, solid mixes, and their usual stunning performances. The disc presents a solid cross section of their material, mostly from the last few years, but some from their stone age days as well. Excellent release.
Picks: The Hypno-Wheel, Disconnected, Syncophant, Tantrum, Floating, Turquoise, Boris The Conductor, Look! No Head!, Experiment In Terror, The Avengers, Circumstantial Evidence, Hi and Lo, Cafe' Equator, Lands End, Psyko, Mission Impossible, Get Carter, Global Village, Enchanted Rock, C'mon Do The Laika, Fugitive, Baha-Ree-Bah!, Fadeaway, Sauna Soul, Telstar, Vendetta

Track by Track Review

The Hypno-Wheel dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Beginning with a swirling keyboard sound, and modulated guitar, this track is slow and shimmering. The vibrato is set pretty fast, giving it an almost tremolo feel. The melody is pretty. It's a seventies spy flick sorta tune. Mysterious and sad.

Disconnected dotdotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

This is one bizarre little ditty. The percussion is most unique, with timbales and a saucy bass line. The tune rolls along with a pulsating feel. It ain't no surf tune, but it's so cool! What happens when you merge Euro stylings with Latin American percussion sounds and twangy guitar? You get disconnected.

Syncophant dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Disappointed dissonant discrepant syncopated carnival ride. Fun, but I quickly forgot about it.

Tantrum dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Exotic percussion a la "Mission Impossible" with organ lead and a playful slushy feel.

Floating dotdotdot
Euro Surf (Instrumental)

Thick and swirly Euro instro, with a great melody and a slightly muddy sound. The overall effect is of an eighties instro with a surf rhythm guitar pattern played dry. Very nice effect, almost synthetic and bubbly.

Turquoise dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

This charming Euro tune has a warm and round tone to it. The melody line is more about using the fret board than a melody, like a gypsy progression. Quite stunning, and fun.

Boris The Conductor dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Crunch comes to Laika and the Cosmonauts in this track. It's a progression and lead exercise combination that is precise and nerve wracking, but not very interesting after about half the song passes. Too little melody and too much repetition.

Look! No Head! dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Thick fuzz drenched chunk rhythm guitar over a galloping neat and a large amount of dark edge. This is quite a departure for Laika and the Cosmonauts. Nasty and mean.

Experiment In Terror dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Henry Mancini' "Experiment In Terror" is oozed out with more dementia than the ventures used. Moody organ lead and near surf backing. Very moody and weird.

The Avengers dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Laurie Johnson's TV series theme is brightly performed, though it's a little too hokey for my taste. Pure fun, with mostly organ lead work.

Circumstantial Evidence dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Seventies funk and bongos, smooth soft wah wah, tinkly echoed piano, and atmospheric sounds support a pretty but unremarkable melody. As a backdrop for a cocktail party, it would be fine. For intent listening, I found it to be dismissible.

Hi and Lo dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

A big eighties pop structure and a Shadows styled melody create a pretty but unremarkable track. It's fluid enough, just unremarkable.

Cafe' Equator dotdotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Exotic percussion, round guitar tone more like the Laika of old. Excellent melody line, lots of energy, and plenty of smooth twang over an infectious beat. Bright and cheerful.

Lands End dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

This Shadows-like tune has that Hank Marvin tone and melody styling that is so much theirs. The big guitar twang is nice, but for my money, it seems like just another Euro guitar instro.

Psyko dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Big scary theme music, with the organ playing the lead. Atmospheric and almost carnival like.

Mission Impossible dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

The "Mission Impossible" theme is organic chunka chunka espionage themeage, high energy and fun.

Get Carter dotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Moody floaty organ film score stuff, with exotic percussion and organ lead.

Global Village dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Euro almost "Telstar" feel, with the organ in the lead over a rhythmic backtrack. Not their most interesting, but one of their more unusual tracks. It is melodic and friendly.

Enchanted Rock dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Pretty and somewhere between the middle east and the islands, "Enchanted Rock" floats slowly across tribal tom toms with a shimmering air about it. A very nice track.

C'mon Do The Laika dotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Progression based Euro instro instro. It's a fun though slightly weird track, with almost muddy sound and keys and guitars. Not their best track, but typically early Laika and the Cosmonauts.

Fugitive dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

The Fugitives' did this, and the Ventures offered it up later. This is very progression based, but it works, and the ringing space guitar in the break is really good. Fun track.

Baha-Ree-Bah! dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is slightly strange cover of the Trademarks' "Baha Ree Bah." Strange only because it has a "Mashi" (Wailers) sound to it. The power is there, as is the energy. Fine double picking and moodiness. Very fun.

Fadeaway dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Slow and silky romantic easy to swallow melodic and smooth. This is quite a pretty song, and the guitar work is delicate and tasty.

Sauna Soul dotdotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

This is a new song... rich guitar tone and an interesting mix of sixties go-go rhythm and smooth Euro guitar melody lines... quite nice! It has a bit of a spy feel, and a lot of romance and flair. Recorded at Baarikaapi, Rauma, Finland

Telstar dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Joe Meek's classic space rocker is reverently pumped out on organ as it was intended to be. Good performance. The double picked guitar parts make it unique to Laika and the Cosmonauts. Recorded at Baarikaapi, Rauma, Finland

Vendetta dotdotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Slow and sultry, "Vendetta" shines with Italian mobster charm. Highly stylized, beautifully played, and lushly arranged. Excellent.