Mumiy Troll
"Comrade Ambassador"

(Self-Released 2009)Mumiy Troll - Comrade Ambassador

If you've never heard of Mumiy Troll, comrade, then you've just given yourself away as someone from the West. Formed in 1983 and advertised as Russia's biggest rock band, Mumiy Troll is finally making their debut stateside with "Comrade Ambassador," their ninth album. But talk about some false advertising; those English song titles on the CD's tracklisting are a bit misleading as all songs are actually in Russian -- unfortunately for me. (Although, admittedly, the linear notes do include the English translations.)

"Comrade Ambassador" is full of sprawling melodies that stretch themselves out, in no rush or hurry to hit the climax. Frontman Illya Lagutenko's words flow out easily, pronunciations rolling off his tongue and matching the leisurely tone of the music. But the band can push things into gear when needed. Mumiy Troll grab a hold of you with buzzing electronic beats, heavy bass and a catchy melody on "We Overslept" while a creaking, croaking sample sticks out on "Musician" and opening track "Mothers and Daughters" offers an air of intrigue and mystery with a low-key entrance. The easy but insistent melody of "Witnesses" sets things spinning before the band tries their hand at a rather upbeat but acceptable take on the Mamas and the Papas' "California Dreaming."

There's certainly something to be said about hearing music from a completely different point of view. Although "Comrade Ambassador" has a slow start and an easy comedown, it's the central portion of the record where the band finds their rhythm. While Mumiy Troll's "Comrade Ambassador" isn't wildly exotic, it does stand out from the pack of a repetitive music scene and offer something refreshingly different.