Oct 2017 07

Mr. Russia - Big NoiseMr. Russia
Category: Post-Punk / Rock
Album: Big Noise
Blurb: Even without a guitar, Mr. Russia’s latest album is as its title suggests, bursting with pomp and bombast, distortion and rock & roll power.


One of the mainstays of the Chicago club circuit, Mr. Russia – comprised of vocalist/bassist Ivan Russia and drummer Josh Vicari – has earned quite a reputation for the band’s satisfyingly raucous alternative rock power, all without need of any guitars. Big Noise, the band’s latest album is aptly titled as Russia’s overdriven bass and Vicari’s tight and equally loud percussion almost literally boom right through the speakers.

The opening track sets the stage with a simply catchy riff and a straightforward beat that thrusts right from the hip and bursts with energy, Russia’s voice bellowing with the sort of throaty force that makes his shouts of “I Explode” all the more palpable. With a raspy and rhythmic spoken style, he comes off with the same kind of bravado as Jaz Coleman, while his bass riffs achieve the same mix of low end thunder and mid range fury that most punk and rock bands can’t do without the obligatory guitar. Songs like “Die Like Heroes” with its dynamic breakdowns and chanting, anthemic vocals, “Someday” with its instantly striking riffs, gritty yet strangely melodic lyrical hooks, and shouting chorus, along with the stark atmosphere of grinding distortion and rocking beats in “Desert Song,” and the guttural riffs of “Bang Bang Romance” revel in rock & roll abandon with just a hint of whimsy. Other songs like the slowly marching and grimly melodic “Wake,” “Shine On” with its sparse piano and brazen cock rock strutting, and the aptly titled “Waltz” dial back the tempo but not the intensity. Similarly, “Pines” moves with a deliberate simplicity with an introductory line that reminded this writer of Violent Femmes’ “Color Me Once” before it strums along into its own direction, Russia’s sullen narration creepily inviting, while the unabashedly heavy metal “Paper Pegasus” stands as one of the album’s most blisteringly vibrant and aggressively in-your-face tracks on the album.

Big Noise also heralds some excellent guest performers, such as Chicago’s own Chris Connelly, Mike Reidy of World Organization of the Righteous Movement (W.O.R.M.), Ganser’s Nadia Garofalo and Alicia Gaines, and Failure to Communicate Records’ Sheriff Scabs, helping to elevate the album’s noise from big to huge. With a sound that blends the artistic and melodic aspects of David Bowie with the post-punk aggression of Killing Joke with just a hint of pomp, Mr. Russia has all the musical chops to transcend being a local favorite and reach a wider audience with a taste for something different yet engaging, familiar in its ballsy rocking power but fresh in its guitar-less approach.
Track list:

  1. I Explode
  2. Someday
  3. Wake
  4. Shine on
  5. Bang Bang Romance
  6. Pines
  7. Die Like Heroes
  8. Paper Pegasus
  9. Fool’s Crown
  10. Desert Song
  11. Waltz

Mr. Russia
Website, Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp
Oppressive Sky
Purchase at:
Amazon MP3
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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