Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Space Cossacks - Never Mind The Bolsheviks - The Best Of The Space Cossacksdotdotdotdotdot
artworkThere's a whole new generation of surf fans out there that need to discover the Space Cossacks, and what better way than this fine set of 24 tracks, 4 of which are new to CD, 2 perviously unreleased. A superb band in full flight playing their unique and infectious brand of surf and more.
Picks: The Space Victory Theme, Red Sunrise, Solaris Stomp, Bombora, Transylvanian Orbit, Metsakukkia, The Defector, The Jewell Of Duende, Tsunami Tsurprise, Space Probe, Exolumina, The Apes Of Wrath, Black Sand, Penetration, Transatlantic Orbit, Cossack Rocket Patrol, Escape From Gulag 17, Planet Of The Apes, Mir Rescue, Gunmetal Express, Hava Nagila, Tsar Wars, Moroccan Adventures, Red Sunrise

Track by Track Review

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.

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.

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!

Transylvanian Orbit dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The "Romanian Dance of the Dead" is sparkled and pristined with eastern European surf charm as only the Space Cossacks can. The melody is grand, and the playing quite excellent. The heavy double picked sections are deluxe, but then, so is the rest of this track.

Metsakukkia dotdotdotdot
Cossack Surf (Instrumental)

Your best babushka and a dash of twango, smothered in Vodka soaked black bread, and heaped in Ruski legends. Very pretty arrangement of a traditional tune. Stingingly played, and just right for the former red giant. I'm not sure why, but this reminds me of the CIA's first experiments with machine language translation, when they were first trying to break the phrase barrier, going for meaning instead of literal word-for-word translations. They fed in the phrase "the spirit is strong, but the flesh is weak," and got "the Vodka is good, but the meat is rotten" out. No, this isn't rotten, but a rocking surf translation certainly changes it's meaning. Cool track.

The Defector dotdotdotdot
Russian Space Surf (Instrumental)

Surf chunk, a reverb haven for spies on the lamb, and moody eastern block melody riffs. Really nice, and very fluid. "The Defector" gets into the crevasses of your ears, and reverberates throughout the day. Excellent writing and playing.

The Jewell Of Duende dotdotdot
Russian Space Surf (Instrumental)

This sultry piece floats gently across an evening interlude. Very pretty, quite restrained, and enjoyable.

Tsunami Tsurprise dotdotdotdotdot
Russian Space Surf (Instrumental)

Great title... and likely the most fluid track here. Really good writing, exceptional playing, and rock-solid staying power. Crystalline twang and a fresh sparkling face. The damped high note picking is so cool, and the clever spelling in the name is too much!

Space Probe dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Another fine tune from one of my current favorite bands. They just seem to do no wrong. This is a very strong cover of the Chantays' tune from their second album. Powerful, finely played, and necessary! Not on their new CD.

Exolumina dotdotdotdotdot
Russian Space Surf (Instrumental)

As we fade into dissonance for a moment, we are lulled into anticipation of something much less than this aggressive and very well played track. Melodic and powerful, this is a stellar track with sparkling guitar and rapid picking. Stunningly beautiful and ominous as well, "Exolumina" simply rules.

The Apes Of Wrath dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With the low-E pummeling the title implies (imagine the Apemen angry), "The Apes Of Wrath" bowls you over from the get go... relentless shredding double picked guitar, powerful arranging, and mean. Intensely driven with flair and relentless energy.

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.

Penetration dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a previous unreleased track, based on the Ventures' In Space arrangement. Not particularly original, but very tuff and fun.

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.

Cossack Rocket Patrol dotdotdotdot
Russian Space Surf (Instrumental)

A rocket launch opens this fine rendering of "Meadowlands." Solidly performed, arranged for surfability, with liquid guitar work and a great rhythm section. Very fine track.

Escape From Gulag 17 dotdotdotdot
Russian Space Surf (Instrumental)

Inspired by the Atlantics, "Escape From Gulag 17" is a mighty tasty example of the Aussie surf sound, though of course they are not from down under. Beautiful playing, fine tone, melodic and fluid, this is warm and friendly, and enjoyable.

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.

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.

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.

Hava Nagila dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This previously unreleased track is superb. Rich tone, very strong playing, and wonderful reverb. Fiery, yet delicate, "Hava Nagila" rocks and drives hard.

Tsar Wars dotdotdotdot
Russian Space Surf (Instrumental)

Surf and Russian battlefield epic melody lines, and huge powerful attack. The ringing nature of the tone and the great double picking, combined with the effects and very well thought out arranging make this shine. An excellent break and bridge.

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.

Red Sunrise dotdotdotdot
Depression Fluff (Instrumental)

This is a masterpiece of morphology, from the gloomy mindset of Joy Division to the froth of supermarket swill with surf tones and impossible Lawrence Welk-isms.