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Local Warming

Laika & The Cosmonauts

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Album Review

The Finland-based surf rockers' first studio album in almost seven years finds them on terra firma. Not straight surf, this is rather surf-influenced instrumental guitar rock with touches of prog and the occasional Zappa-esque flourish. The band has shelved some of the experiments in rap, reggae, and electronica they toyed with on Absurdistan, but still playfully push the boundaries of their genre with twisty tempos and textured, nuanced arrangements. They remain generally bouncy, but these songs are extremely well conceived and often surprisingly complex as they avoid exclusively riding Ventures-styled waves. Matti Pitsinki's keyboards along with the occasional sample add to the multi-layered methodology and Mikko Lankinen's inventive guitar tones keep the tunes, most of which stay well under four minutes, consistently engaging. Deep Purple-ish harder-edged rock ("Mr. Melée") and even lounge ("Meneito Paraiso") are parts of the Laika equation, but the band is at their best when they mix and match styles in the same track, as on the shape-shifting "Disco Plank." While little here is revolutionary, the members of Laika show themselves to be one of the world's foremost surf-based practitioners who are smart and talented enough not to remake the same album. They nudge the boundaries of their approach just enough to refrain from drowning in a tsunami of nostalgia, but keep one foot firmly lodged in the sand kicked up by their predecessors.

Customer Reviews

wow

this album is super awesome surf type tracks... mixed up wtih very hip-electric sounds. very refreshing... especially if you're sick of listening to most surf.. that generally all sounds like a remake of hawaii 5-0. no offense.

Euro-Neo-surf-kings go 2 steps beyond, 1 more time!

According to reports, this may have been the full-length studio farewell from this intrepid band, w/ Cosmopolis summing up their 20-year career (& including some exc.'s from this album). It could be that, like Combustible Edison's "The Impossible World," another well-crafted body of work which sounds deliciously retro & curiously contemporary, all at the same time, this effort left them w/ nowhere to go, that wouldn't involve merely repeating themselves &/or diluting the effect of their catalog to date. In any case, it's a rather wonderful album, which I think listeners willing to step on board & let it take them where it wants to go (assuming they like this kind of thing: surf-derived rock, w/ elements of other styles creatively blended in) will find engrossing & highly enjoyable listening. Thanks to iTunes for providing 90-sec. samples; several of the songs have interesting shifts which would not be served well by 30-sec. ones. I'm quite pleased by this purchase (also plucked several choice trax from Cosmopolis), & will continue to nurse my fantasy: that Combustible Ed--& now, these guys, as well--will get back together & join forces for a reunion tour. What an evening of delight that could provide!

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Finnish surf-revivalists Laika and the Cosmonauts reunited guitarist Mikko Lankinen and drummer Janne Haavisto, who previously teamed in the like-minded Pluto & the Astronauts. Adding guitarist/keyboardist Matti Pitsinki and bassist Tom Nyman, the group issued its debut album C'Mon Do the Laika! in 1988; Surfs You Right! followed two years later, and in 1993 Laika and the Cosmonauts resurfaced with Instruments...
Full Bio
Local Warming, Laika & The Cosmonauts
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Surf, Pop
  • Released: Apr 20, 2004

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