I first was turned onto The Soviettes when their track “Paranoia! Cha-Cha-Cha” was featured on April’s Rock Against Bush compilation. Finally, we are given more than a taste from the Minneapolis act, and they do not disappoint in the least. Mixing the earliest strains of British punk with the straight-forward rock strains started in America, The Soviettes make radio-friendly tracks that are nearly impossible to ignore. Whether it is the breakneck-pace of “Portland” or the rest of the disc (no track on LP II is any longer than 2:23, The Soviettes come into your house, tear up anything that isn’t bolted down, and do it with a musicianship that just can’t be found with bands of the same energy. In a total display of their instruments, The Soviettes channel all their energy into a nod for the B-52’s in “Channel X”, where a Fred Schneider-soundalike is matched alongside a more sultry female voice.
The tone of LP II is admittedly different from “Paranoia! Cha-Cha-Cha, but comparing a few minutes of music to a 24 minute LP is problematic to start with. With rough guitars a continual presence on the disc, the smooth vocals laid down on the disc are really given carte blanche in their roles as diametric opposites. In a more subtle nod to Adeline founder Billie Joe Armstrong, The Soviettes make an audible attempt to emulate Dookie-era Green Day in their bass line to “#1 is Number Two”. In a nod to their name, the Communist-dictated role of vocalist, in that all members sing, allow The Soviettes to really leapfrog over a horde of similar sounding bands to really take their place as leaders in the genre.
Coming out of the gates with a strong effort relatively early in their career, The Soviettes have no ceiling on the success they can achieve. They play a strong and innovative style of music and are on a label that can provide them with the resources to get somewhere. Unlike most of the music that comes across my desk, I can honestly say that this album will be in my CD player throughout the summer and well into the next school year. And how could a review be complete without mentioning that The Soviettes freely and successfully incorporate a Cure lyric (“Staring at the sea / Staring at the Sand” from Killing An Arab) into a track “Portland” and make it completely their own.
Top Tracks: Portland, Come On Bokkie!
The Soviettes – LP II / 2004 Adeline Records / 14 Tracks / http://www.the-soviettes.com / http://www.adelinerecords.com / Released 7 June 2004 / Reviewed 28 June 2004