Mumii Troll Back With `Caviar’

Mumii Troll, which packed the Gorkogo Palace of Culture on their first visit to St. Petersburg in October, returns Friday with hopes of selling out the grander Yubileiny Sports Palace.
’Mumiimania’, which swept the country after the band released their debut album, `Morskaya’ (sea-sickness) in April, is getting a second wind with the band’s second release `Ikra’ (caviar), which is climbing national charts with ear-splitting speed.
The Mumii Troll story seems like a pretty typical rock-and-roll fairy-tale. The band rose from obscurity in the far eastern city of Vladivostok, where they first got together in 1983.
The ride since then has been bumpy, but frontman Ilia Lagutenko, 29, seems none the worse after his tough rise to stardom. Lagutenko, who has lived in London since 1994, recorded the debut album at a London studio with some Russian and British musicians. The recording was produced by Chris Bandy, who was an assistant engineer on The Cure’s two albums `Wish’ and `Show’.
The formula of Mumii Troll is a successful blend of old and new, foreign and homegrown. They range from T. Rex-style boogie, to Cure-like pulsating guitar, then jump into the contemporary Brit-pop sounds of bands like Blur and Pulp. To this Western mixture, Mumii Troll then adds elements of Soviet soft-rock bands of the 1970s.
Lagutenko also projects a trendy image of a current Brit-style rock star and is often compared to Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker. The lyrics to Mumii Troll’s catchy tunes are often ungrammatical and mostly nonsensical. But they are inexplicably appealing and free of the usual boring Russian rock cliches.
Although both of the band’s albums were recorded with the band’s original keyboardist Albert Krasnov, he has since left the band. On this tour, Mumii Troll will include veteran Lagutenko on vocals as well as several newer members: Yury Tsaler on lead guitar, Oleg Pungin on drums, Denis Transky on keyboards and saxophone, Yevgeny Zvidenny on bass and Olesya Lyashenko, who sings back-up vocals and dances.
Mumii Troll in concert at Yubileiny Sports Palace, 18 Ulitsa Dobrolyubova, M: Sportivnaya, at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 12; and at the PORT Club, 2 Pereulok Antonenko, M: Nevsky Prospect/Sennaya Ploshchad at 10 p.m. on Saturday, Dec 13.

copyright The St. Petersburg Times 1997

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