Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Space Cossacks - Interstellar Stompdotdotdotdot
artworkThe Space Cossacks first CD has finally been born, and it's about time. They are among the best of the trad based surf bands, and this CD is quite good. With homage to the American scene and influences from Australia's Atlantics, these guys surf hard. The new material is very melodic and powerful, and the covers are mighty strong. If Man or Astro-MAN had ever learned the value of melody, they might have risen to this artistic level. Last year's glimpse into the world of the Space Cossacks through the incredible Solaris Stomp brought great anticipation of a full CD. I can't say that the whole release is up to the intensity and magic of that song, but there are no weak tracks, and many exceptionally fine ones. The sound on this recording is less dynamic than the older sessions, which were somewhat uneven, but no less energetic. This is high intensity, melodic, infectious surf instrumental music.
Picks: Third Star To The Left, Red Sunrise, Solaris Stomp, Neutron Sabre, Black Sand, The Cossack, The Spy Satellite, Planet Of The Apes, Gunmetal Express, Transatlantic Orbit, Moroccan Adventures, Mir Rescue, Bombora, The Space Victory Theme, Navajo Star

Track by Track Review

Third Star To The Left dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This cover of the amazing Nocturnes' early space epic inspired by "Journey To The Stars" goes beyond last year's cassette release. If is larger, more dynamic, more cohesive. A fine track.

Red Sunrise dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With an infectious backtrack and a splendid flying lead, this is a mighty tasty track. The double picked onslaught is strong, the single picked super twang whammy second verse is a perfect counterpoint, and the break is also a cool change, with it's cord dominated chunk. This is a well thought out, well written, finely executed, melodic and highly infectious track. Hot dog!

Solaris Stomp dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the best track on this CD! It's rhythmic, pristine, chunky, spirited, and carries you right on down the road with no effort at all. Great melody and gorgeous guitar tones. This remixed version tames down the intense dynamics some, creating a more fluid and synergistic track. The differences are probably only noticeable by a sound engineer, and they don't detract or add, merely shift the track into a slightly different place. Really nice job.

Neutron Sabre dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Wow. The lead twangage is intense. The guitar tone owns you. This is as good as "Solaris Stomp." A bit of the Spanish influence, and off-the-scale infectiometer readings.

Black Sand dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is an unusual combination of a slithering mood melody, an open road beat, and a faster pace not usually associated with such melodies. This has delicacy and power. So many textural changes. A very nice track.

The Cossack dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Jim Messina hates all his work with the jesters, but he shouldn't. Not only was it great, but it redefined surf with a dark imagery, like taking Dick Dale's "The Victor" and playing it in a back alley where your life is in danger. 'Nuff 'bout the originator of this tune. The Space Cossacks have captured the original flair, and delivered an accurate and meaningful reemergence. This is quite good.

The Spy Satellite dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A slow slightly sad melody, shimmering sounds, and a very cohesive performance, with twinges of conquistadors, give this a stalking and somewhat ominous edge, and create an espionage atmosphere.

Planet Of The Apes dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Power double picking and slaughterhouse energy create a demarcation line between this and other dark surf rants. It's very strong and dramatic.

Gunmetal Express dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Slithery vibrato second guitar, slightly Euro-spy influenced melody, and perfectly wonderful lead guitar make for a solid old world mystery. Nice track.

Transatlantic Orbit dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Very Atlantics sounding, right down to the lead guitar delay, but with a smoother more surfy feel. Really nice tribute to a relatively unknown (in the U. S.) Australian band of a bygone era. The writing is very good. The sense of melody is is all important in instros, and the strength of the melody writing in this band is clearly demonstrated here, and throughout this CD.

Moroccan Adventures dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Light plucky percussive damped reverbed rhythms, Middle Eastern spices, emotional tremolo, and fluid sounds make this a particularly nice mood piece.

Mir Rescue dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Frothy and friendly, this is a pleasant diversion from the other tracks here, It demonstrates the versatility of this band. The rich textures and exquisite playing show just how powerfully good writing and performance can take a relatively MOR structure and make it truly magnetic.

Bombora dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

An Atlantics cover, one of their thrashiest tunes. Very intense and hyper-rhythmic. The lead guitar tone is right on the money!

The Space Victory Theme dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is really cool, sorta like a Middle Eastern "Solaris Stomp," but not really. It has marvelous rhythms, and splendid guitar tones. Mighty infectious, and totally cool. These guys understand the power of changes in instros, and the power of fills and accents. This is a fine and unusual track.

Navajo Star dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dramatic, dramatic, and Indian flavored without being derivative or trite. This is a very pretty, and belongs in a film soundtrack. Fine track.