НИИ Косметики - Пушка

Formed in 1984, НИИ Косметики offered an antidote to a cultural landscape of blacklists, interrogation and oppression in the Soviet Union. Musical groups under the Communist regime tended to be registered and monitored by the government, as demonstrated in the formation of Moscow Rock Lab, an official organisation set up to oversee the actions of Soviet rock groups. Sure, the Rock Lab encouraged musical diversity. But it was government-sanctioned diversity. НИИ Косметики (whose name translates as Scientific Research Institute of Cosmetics) rebelled against this. They largely functioned underground and put out risqué lo-fi pop jams, songs that transcended new-wave or new-romanticism and instead fell among the experimentalists of the time. With songs like Пушка, the band showed their intent in remaining obscure. The song's title translates as 'Gun', the track length is over seven minutes, and Michael Yevsenkov's vocals are difficult to gage on first listen. If you combine that with the fact that they'd never have broken into the US, it's quite remarkable that they've survived, even in certain niche corners of the internet. The West was terrified of Communism, of the Soviet Union, even of the cyrillic alphabet. Russian vocals were too much, especially when coming from a rather shady source in the Moscow underground. Back home they weren't exactly a hit, either. They didn't conform to the Rock Lab. The KGB weren't fans. They remained cult heroes purely to a certain demographic. And I kind of like it like that. There's a scent of mystery around this group, a feeling that oozes out of every wailed vocal part, scratchy synthesiser and shimmering guitar. It absolutely makes sense that Ariel Pink is a fan (and almost certainly an adherent), given some rather uncanny similarities in their sounds. Success or not, it's safe to say НИИ Косметики put out some stunning pop songs.

Label: ?
Year: 1987
Genre: New-Wave, Experimental, Synth-Pop, No-Wave

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