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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Leningrad Cowboys

Buena Vodka Social Club

Review by Gary Hill

Anyone who reads a lot of my reviews will know that music that combines seemingly unrelated styles earns a special place in my heart. This is just that kind of music. While I figure a lot of such sounds fit into the progressive rock section, I’d have to say this does not. It combines punk rock, other hard edged sounds along with other elements. The most obvious elements added to the mix are Russian and Mexican music. That part should be easy to make out from the title. They don’t stop there, but those are the most prevalent musical references. This is a fun disc that’s definitely out of the ordinary. It seems quite tongue in cheek, but it’s also quite fascinating.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Machine Gun Blues

Russian music gone hard rock opens this. Then they fire out into a punk-like tune. This is high energy and fun. Yes, it’s a bit weird as they alternate between the stripped down punk and more Russian sounds, but it’s also very cool.

All We Need Is Love
This one comes in more purely rock sounding. It’s got tons of energy and a killer groove. Still, there’s enough of a twist toward left field to make it unique. The chorus is almost progressive rock.
Drill A Hole
Here’s a smoking hot tune that includes some dervish styled world music and some seriously hard edged jamming.
Gimme Your Sushi
A bouncy little number, this is definitely based in old time rock and roll sounds. There’s a bit of a Beach Boys section and this is both a change of pace and a lot of fun.
Rock'n'Roll Show
Combining old school rock and roll with music like the theme song to “The Munsters” and Russian music, this is a cool tune. There are definitely links between this and Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll.”
I Kill The Dog
Here we get some traditional Mexican music for the first section. From there, though, it powers out into some of the most aggressive punk rock like sounds of the set. They alternate between these two styles. This one certainly earns a parental advisory.
Gasolina
Mariachi music opens this. Then they take it into a Russian sound. There’s almost a polka vibe to it, too. This is just plain fun as they careen from one world music style to another and do it all with catchy hooks and lost of energy.
Buena Vodka Social Club
This powers in like something from the 1980s hair metal scene. The verses are delivered in that style, but the choruses are more like modern pop rock. It’s formulaic if you just take each section independently, but combining them together makes this unique.
Frijoles Y Lager
This combines world music with funk and rock for a short instrumental that’s a lot of fun.
Wash You’re A**
Starting with a short Red Foxx clip, this powers out through a metal meets Russian music jam. We get more of Mr. Foxx as this continues. As it powers into the song proper it’s a hard rocking version of power pop like Cheap Trick. Depending on a person’s sensibilities this one gets a parental advisory. There is a lyrical nod to Spinal Tap on this piece.
Mule
A balladic tune, this is pretty and has some Spanish elements built within along with hints of Russian music. They power it up as they continue with more world music elements emerging over the top. Still, it’s really a power ballad even when it builds upward. Vocals soar out after a while taking the piece to new levels. It does power out into a soaring jazzy jam later in the number. This is quite probably the best piece on show. It is also nearly purely progressive rock oriented. I love the screaming saxophone. In fact, those later sections almost sound like Red era King Crimson.
Corpse Bride
This one combines all the world music sounds from the rest of the disc along with some serious rock. The result is a powerhouse rocker that’s fun and epic in scope.
 
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