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CD REVIEW

Laika and the Cosmonauts: Local Warming

While Laika & the Cosmonauts enjoy the irony of boasting that they are Finland's number one surf band, they push their lushly layered soundscapes far beyond the limitations of any specific genre. Such sonic daring keeps their music fresh, even on "Local Warming," which is their sixth studio album written within the limited parameters of instrumental music flavored by retro guitars and keyboards. Their influences are boundless, as they slide between a slinky spy theme and uber-gooey '70s pop on "The Key Role" while "Rikki on the Loose" bursts with a joyous classic rock riff underpinned with a reedy piano melody and "Liposuction" has a swaggering soul groove and wild, cartwheeling organ. While fans who first fell for the band's surf authenticity may be surprised by the slick, almost free-jazz guitar noodling on songs like "Haroosh," no matter how far out the band goes, their songs always abound with uniquely dreamy and vividly detailed texture. "Meneito Paraiso" is built around a rollicking blues rock riff that's more Aerosmith than Dick Dale, and "Mr. Melee" has a thick-as-molasses bass line perfect for banging your head. Showing that sometimes sticking to one beloved genre is the perfect means for touching an infinite number of others, the band releases another ambitious, lovingly detailed album with cinematic scope.

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