Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Keep Your Pets Away From The Vivisectors!

The Vivisectors
Case History Of John Doe

Raise the dead.
Through the gloom and shadows our eyes strain to make out the figures. Against the backdrop of a full moon is the silhouette of a cart being drawn across the countryside by the bones of what might have been an ox. At the reins, a skeletal figure with a sickle is relaxed and content with what surly is a grim mission. With what looks to be 3 or 4 wooden caskets piled in the bed of the cart, he seems to be heading for the cemetery. From the background comes a sound, a familiar sound in its nature, yet strange in form. It’s eerie and menacing, yet there is a sense of comfort, surprising at first, but not all that unexpected. We toss a puzzled glance at our hosts, The Vivisectors, and with a sly smile they utter one word: “Surf.”
For too long surf music has had no identity other than that of the beach, the waves, fun and sun, woody station wagons, surfboards, Go-Go dancing, and the like. The sounds of The Beach Boys, The Safari’s, The Ventures and countless others. In surf it has been the 1960’s for far too long because surf bands just haven’t kept up. With Case History Of John Doe, The Vivisectors are staking this century’s claim to the torch that was lit so many decades ago by the legendary Dick Dale. Taking the harder edge that Dick created (before all the pretty boys dressed it up and brought it to the party) and instilling a vision/feel of psychosis, horror, and fright to parlay the general view the world has on their native land of Russia, The Vivisectors offer up an invigorating musical metaphor of life in a place that people foreign to their culture and customs would never associate with a beach (“There are beaches in Russia?” is the common refrain when told that The Vivisectors are a Russian Surf band). They assume a lack of sand, surf, and Beach Blanket Bingo, while picturing that of something more cold, dreadful, and tremulous, that of something more significant and representative of The Evil Empire.
Wearing a frightening mask (the cover), Case History Of John Doe opens with a treat: five songs of instrumental surf that touch upon and transport us to the Wild West/Spaghetti Westerns as if The Vivisectors are riding into town upon Big, Phat “E string” Surf. Once the organ on “Intro” kicks in, there’s no looking back. “Big Diff,” “Cowboy Surfer,” “Good Time,” and “Hank, God Bless You,” all trick us into this countrified version of surf, of riding tall in the saddle on the sand of the beach, while the tiki torches flicker in the breeze and the grass skirts shake, but once The Vivisectors kick into their menacing cover version of The Animals classic “House of the Rising Sun,” capturing and exposing more of the original’s terror then ever before, well, we know we're not on Venice Beach anymore (Toto).
It’s songs like “Mad,” “Monkey Hunter,” and “Alien In Government” that then rip to shreds all our preconceived notions of what surf is. The Vivisectors slice and dice and toss it all around, injecting Garage Rock and Film Noir spy rock into the mix, with a sense of dread and urgency that somehow lifts the spirits. “Radio Spell,” “Fried Chicken,” “Cruel Love,” and others open up the Monster lo-fi sound that Mike Antipow (Guitars, organ, drum loops, home PC) plays with the furiousness of a man possessed. We hear him ripping and shredding chords like the powerful waves that crash upon the board riders and the beach, intricately picking at huge Phat bottom notes, that run and slice through the heart and the waves. We surf through an intriguing presentation of a genre that has long been treated as dead, and is only recognized by those who cling to the past and exult the extinct. It teaches us that the stereotyping of terror, evil, and repression of the old USSR blinds us in much the same way to the core, soul, and general goodness of its people.
“Motorpsycho,” “Russki Psycho,” “Scary Song,” “Midnight Travel,” “Terrorfobia,” and “KGB Moscow Nights” assert all the horror, terror, and dark, mysterious ways of fear and loathing under a communist regime. But, it is the sound that reaches in and urges us to let it go, to wrap ourselves in the resurrected music of a brighter and happier time and culture, but not to forget what brought us to this point and how much farther we still must go. “Enigma Of John Doe,” does just that with a schlock-psycho-monster style narrative that draws us like the curious to an accident. Perhaps this is the sound we make when we want to see what should in fact repulse us. It’s human nature reduced to its most primitive, a sullen fright that confuses, yet identifies us all at once, the world mummified for all to gawk and ponder.
Maybe that’s why “Cold Waves” leads to the closing of this CD. It finally lays the Russian surf scene out for all to see. While the waves are as friendly as they are frigid, they urge us to realize that those fanatics who practice and present it with revered vision should be warmly received for all they’ve done and accomplished. “Outro” may close the mausoleum doors, and while upon arrival the caskets may have been full of dead expectations of a genre and culture, we’ve been shown that we shouldn’t be shoveling the dirt – Raise the dead. From

1. Intro
2. Big Dif
3. Cowboy Surfer
4. Good Time
5. Hank, God Bless You
6. The House of the Rising Sun
7. Mad
8. Monkey Hunter.
9. Motorpsycho
10. Radio Spell
11. Fried Chicken
12. Alien in a Government
13. Russki Psycho
14. Cruel Love
15. Enigma of John Doe
16. Ghost Surfer
17. Scary Song
18. Midnight Travel
19. Terrorofobia
20. True Story
21. Walking
22. Son of the Beach
23. Moonlight Tango
24. KGB Moscow Nights
25. Cold Waves
26. Outro


sandman said...

thanks for this i only had one lonely track on a comp

Frisian said...

a big wow for this post Trustar
great album.
will try to leave more comments, sorry i am a bit lazy to do that lately only my comments will not be that catchy as yours, love to read yours...


hax said...

another great album here...
thanx for sharing this!

Toxxy said...

Yeah, it MUST a goodie, I just know it'll be! Thx for yet another marvelous post Trustar :-)