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Mumiy Troll

Comrade Ambassador

(Universal; US: 24 Nov 2008; UK: Unavailable)

Proof, if you were looking for it, that ex-punks and graphic designers from Vladivostok are as capable of creating indie “rockapops” as anyone else anywhere on the planet, Comrade Ambassador is a cherrypicked American compilation of tracks from Mumiy Troll’s last two Russian albums, AMBA and VIII. Here they are in a Britrock mood with “Witness” and “Queen of Rock”. Here they are in a New Wave mood with “We Overslept” and “Nuclear Stations”. Here they are in a stormy-serious-ballad mood with “In Our World”, which can be relished in the same sadly-we-are-all-doomed way you might relish the Gary Jules version of “Mad World”. Here they are, cheering themselves up with “Musician”, which sounds satirical and jokey, but I can’t tell for sure because the lyrics are all in Russian. Here is a bonus track, “California Dreamin’” sung in the same language. Here is frontman Ilya Lagutenko rolling his mouth around his native tongue, the consonants slushing past one another like damaged Velcro. Enjoyable.

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