This delightfully peculiar band are enormous in their native Russia, and their first full English-language album is their attempt to get their international break. For all their renowned idiosyncrasies, this is far more restrained than some of their previous recordings: Mumiy Troll seem worried their more avant-garde moments will scare away new fans.
That said, Vladivostok is no commercial sell-out: it still possesses an engaging adventurous streak, even if it lack some of the band’s trademark weirdness. Musically they fall somewhere between U2 and Muse.
It’s the vocal style of Ilya Lagutenko that’s their unique identifier. Given the androgynous delivery of many of his lines, it’s little surprise that Mumiy Troll performed that bastion of camp, the Eurovision Song Contest, back in 2001. Don’t hold it against them, this album proves the band’s worth.
Vladivostok Vacation is a spiralling, Eastern Bloc party song, Fantastica is an intriguing, cheesy pop song and Lucky Bride continues that theme of warped, stadium rock. Lagutenko puts too much mince into the kitsch pie on Sorry Tiger, which lets down an otherwise fascinating album.