Spun: Mumiy Troll

By Richard Lam

The vibrant cover of Mumiy Troll’s album gives a good hint of what to expect from this Russian rock band. You have a psychedelic tiger-in-a-Superman-costume, a cowboy with guns drawn, a UFO, a nuclear briefcase and perhaps most mysteriously, an oil rig. Translated, the band’s name is “The Mummy’s Troll,” which is based on a series of children’s books. Comrade Ambassador is fun, colourful music made by an outrageously fun, colourful band.

The songs sound like they have been pulled from campy sci-fi films and westerns, with strutting cabaret undertones. Strange and varied instrumentation along with electronic sounds keep the tunes interesting, with hand-clapping, staccato keyboards, blips and beeps and vocal distortions made to sound animalistic.

Suffice to say, it requires a certain amount of skill to cohesively string all this madness together. The opening track, “Mothers and Daughters,” contains an ear-catching structure, where the minor key verse suddenly evolves into a major key chorus with a changed drum tempo. Each track manages to secure its own sound and identity, which is good for a non-Russian-speaking listener unable to comprehend the lyrics. This is bright, accessible music creating a fun groove, regardless of your native tongue.