Hip Mumy Troll comes home to rock Vlad

For 29-year-old Vladivostok native Lagutenko and 18-year-old back-up singer Olesya Lyashenko of Nahodka, the concert was homecoming and heroÒs welcome rolled into one. Since playing here a year ago, the band has gone big time, winning the Russian Grammy award × the Ovatsia × for best rock group in 1997 and scattering the seeds of Mumy Troll mania with tours of European Russia and Siberia.
“People say this is a Vladivostok group,» said back-up singer Lyashenko. «ThatÒs why our group gets special attention. Our image is different.»
Mumy TrollÒs trippy lyrics × hallucinatory images of ocean, city and the occasional extraterrestrial × are set to forceful guitar rifts, powerful percussion, and groovy synthesizer tunes. LagutenkoÒs forays into falsetto offer a surreal edge.
VladivostokÒs physical environment of sea, waves, wind, and hills is reflected in the bandÒs three albums × Morskaya, Ikra and Shamora × which are populated with sailors, captains, and seagulls. ThereÒs an Asian twist, too. Lagutenko, who lived in China for two years, performs in Kung Fu T-shirts and Cultural Revolution-era jackets.
Growing up, Lagutenko listened to short-wave radio for rock-and-roll transmitted from Okinawa to American soldiers in Japan. By 15, he was writing music for his band, named after the Finnish fairy tale character Moomin Troll. Their first song, about the Cosmos and Martians, was inspired by fantasy writer Jules Verne.
The far-out is still an element in songs like «Flow Away.» ThereÒs a cataclysmic, end-of-the-millennium feel to «Vladivostok 2000,» in which a man walks the streets «grenade in pocket, pin in hand.»
Mumy Troll is not for everyone. Marina Pinchuk, a television art critic based in Khabarovsk, said the band is a trend, «a butterfly that lives for one day.“
At a press conference, prior to the concert, Lagutenko used a cocoon of evasion and wise-cracks to deflect journalistsÒ questions about his 10-year-old son, wife Yelena and future plans.
“Ten years ago, all I knew was that July 2, IÒd be swimming,» said Lagutenko. «The future holds more swimming and sunbathing: Our yacht will be bigger, the sun brighter, and the water bluer.»