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Russia - 1980 Russia



ARTIST: Russia
ALBUM: Russia
LABEL: Warner Bros
SERIAL: BSK 3414
YEAR: 1980
CD REISSUE: 2008, Wounded Bird, WOU-3414

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Griff Stevens - vocals, woodwinds, railroad springs * Thomas Richard Brighton - guitars, vocals * Richard Allyn White - keyboards, vocals * Larry Tuttle - bass, vocals * Jeff Swisstack - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Fight Back * 02 Who Do You Think You Are? * 03 Nothing To Say * 04 Gotta Get Away * 05 Laughing (In The Face Of Fire) * 06 If I Were You * 07 Out Of My Mind * 08 Poignant Clams * 09 Piece Of Ice * 10 Outer Space Seeds

WEBLINKS: www.myspace.com/outerspaceseed


Background
Very much an 'off the wall' outfit are these patriotically challenged musicians from the USA. Originally from Seattle and known previously under the handle of Sorceror's Apprentice, these boys worked up a cult following in Los Angeles, with Warner Brothers doing the daring thing and releasing the thing under the moniker Russia. Brave indeed, while musically, the band are brave themselves, with an intriguing style which includes multiple part vocal harmonies and a bombastic approach pulling up at the doorsteps of the likes of The Tubes, Queen, and Storm (Jeanette Chase version). Followers of fashion these guys are definitely not, just take a listen to their songs, plus their outrageous lyrics, all penned by Griff Stevens. Try this for size from the song 'Outer Space Speeds': Here they come, dressed to the tits, In the height of fashion, featuring multiple sphenoid antennae for winter.. gleaming lithium exoskeletons for summer. Err yeah..


The Songs
'Fight Back' opens up the album in a quirky fashion, followed by 'Who Do You Think You Are?' which though quirky too, has a certain commercialness about it, akin to Trillion for instance. 'Gotta Get Away' is musically brilliant, and at the end of the song they invoke a 'pygmy chorus'. Ever heard that one before? Then they attempt to do a send up of Queen on 'If I Were You'. I'm sure Freddy would have enjoyed this one. 'Out Of My Mind' is another great number, with Jim Peterik sounding keyboards a la Survivor's 'Premonition', while they give us a musical interlude called 'Poignant Clams' which sounds like background music for a nature documentary! 'Piece Of Ice' is the standout highlight song for me, rockin' hard with Russian Cossack chants providing the vocal harmony. In fact, if you listen closely, the Russian style chants are prevalent throughout the album.


In Summary
A great band with an inordinate amount of charm about them. The band changed names to Force 10 and released another album the following year, thereby avoiding any public backlash from patriotic US citizens not partial to anything Russian.. Yes, good move. I wouldn't want these boys chased down by a Lynch Mob from Alabama or anything like that. I'd like to find out from Griff Stevens.. how the hell do you play railroad springs??


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Comments
#1 | gdazegod on January 14 2008 21:53:46
I wonder if there are any recordings of pre-Russia outfit Sorcerers Apprentice? Or, any live Russia out-takes from their time either in the Pacific NW or when based in Los Angeles. Anyone wanting to contact Griff Stevens, you can PM him here at GDAZE under his handle 'meatbuick'. Thumbs Up
#2 | vinyldinosaurus on March 13 2008 15:44:58
I found this record and the Force 10 record in the used shops recently. The Russia record was still sealed and both records cost me a whopping $4.00!

The Russia album is AMAZING! Can't believe they weren't huge...
#3 | gdazegod on March 13 2008 20:30:39
As mentioned, Russia have a MySpace page now.. www.myspace.com/outerspaceseeds.
#4 | rostoned on September 28 2008 13:20:57
I know that everybody knows it at this point but this album and follow up by Force 10 have been legally reissued by Wounded Bird in the US in 2008. Odd or what ?!? Smile
#5 | rkbluez on May 23 2012 22:05:28
Cool album...to be honest I wasn't to into it when it was released...I think I scored a gold stamped new promo in the city for 50 cents.

Now my taste have changed and I've come to really like this record...so glad that Wounded Bird released this as quirky pomp stuff like this will never be duplicated these days.
#6 | sabace on January 29 2013 14:29:40
great stuff! weird mix of sounds reminds me at times of The Cars, Queen, Styx .
#7 | super80boy on June 22 2013 23:42:40
Creative, quirky and pompy was this fivesome. A fun and enjoyable listen. They hit you with all sorts of melodies and the Queen reference is spot on in 'If I Were You'.
 
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