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2006-04-12My review: The Crimea - White Russian Galaxy (2006)

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[White Russian Galaxy, CD1]
 
[White Russian Galaxy, CD2]

Amazon.co.uk listings for CD1 / CD2 / Vinyl

CD1 track listing:

1. White Russian Galaxy (single version)
2. I Think We're Alone Now

CD2 track listing:

1. White Russian Galaxy (single version)
2. Russian Roulette
3. Opposite Ends (Live at St. Louis)
4. White Russian Galaxy (video)

7" vinyl track listing:

1. White Russian Galaxy (single version)
2. The Ballad Of Seichi Taniguchi

Scroll down for lyrics!

As with previous single Lottery Winners On Acid, I should point out there was a small press single by the name White Russian Galaxy released previously, back in 2003. Making this the third version of WRG to surface, fourth if you count the original Klutzville recording as a different version to the one on the old mail-order album...

Because this is a different version to those on the albums — if you remember my review of that, you may recall a few pointed comments about it getting more poppy... well, this latest version (and the one the band played on Top Of The Tops on Sunday) is, funnily enough considering the TOTP thing, a bit more rock. Woo-ha.

It takes another listen or two to acclimatise, but this is probably the best mix/recording of the song to date... and will be replacing the album version on the CD I'm going to burn in a minute... meaning that — all told — the US album, Out of Africa non-album track and b-sides from the two UK singles on Warner fit nice and snugly on an 80-minute CD.

Backing CD1 is a sublime cover of Tiffany's I Think We're Alone Now — understated, lazy guitar line, original spoken-word verse over the cello solo towards the end... I've been humming this since I got it on Monday. This is what all cover versions should be — adding something to the song rather than churning out a carbon copy. Lovely.

Russian Roulette took a few listens to like... there's nothing immediately grabbing your attention except the chorus, and not in the best way. Persevere and it pretty quickly snaps together, lyrics and different vocal style — according to the handy crib-sheet sent out on the band mailing list it's Joe on singing duties.

Third track on disc two is a live version of Opposite Ends with lyric montage introduction by Regina Spektor, from the St. Louis performance last July... your mileage may vary if you're reading this way in the future, but there's a stream of the whole show here if you want to try it. Again, I find myself liking this version more than the album recording...

Here comes the rant. Vinyl-only tracks: how many people in this day and age own record players? It's mitigated to some extent by The Ballad Of Seichi Taniguchi also being available on iTunes and various other digital download services... though they're rants in themselves. I went for iTunes, only to get the track burnt to CD and ripped back and discover the 128kbps AAC encoding had stripped all of the frequencies above 16Khz. The copy Chris bought from Napster (yes, they're a legit music download service these days) was somewhat better, evidencing periodic samples in the 18Khz range — none of which is the point. Download services market as an alternative to CDs. It's therefore up to them to see that the encodings offered aren't shit. Needless to say, iTunes will only be getting my business if material is unavailable elsewhere — and I'll continue to take umbrage at vinyl releases. CDs? You know, those things people complain they aren't selling as many of any more? Well, you actually have to release the material on CD for us to buy it. This is not rocket science. People like hard copies they can play — and the main market for singles is teenagers, who are less likely to have access to turntables.

It was actually worth the hassle. I've probably managed to mishear several of the lyrics (I had "Hiroshima" down as "Russia" — before remembering I'd seen somewhere it was about a Japanese teenager who snaps and guts his tormentors) but the horn section and guitar solo are fab. From gig reviews I've seen it's become rather a live favourite...

Like LWOA, the second CD also contains a video for the titular track. This one's a bit less weird than the Lottery one, being an MTV-friendly montage of roadtripping, quick cuts, people playing on the roof of vehicles, and so on. Hopefully it'll work as intended... it's about time kids got brainwashed by some music that's not from generic identikit bands.

If you only get one format, make it CD1 — that I Think We're Alone Now cover is cracking.

Video: http://www.virgin.net/music/musicvideos/thecrimea_whiterussiangalaxy_hi.html
More: www.thecrimea.net/uk/ | www.myspace.com/thecrimea | inaudible.co.uk/crimea/


White Russian Galaxy

Straight out of high school
And into the jungle
Searching for Tarzan who might be Dad
You kick like a mule
Short of an Oscar
And screaming blue murder at newly weds

Who knows what goes on in her pretty little head
Who knows

You talk like a fish
In nonsensical bubbles
Then blow the word bitch through your smoke ring
You cause only trouble
You bring only suffering
Just get in the spaceship and stop bleeding

Who knows what goes on in her pretty little head
Who knows

Why do you never sing in church on Sundays
Why won't you ever go all the way
You're floating towards heavenly hell
Hanging from the rafters like a church bell
You're light years away from reality
Lonely, and lost in a white Russian galaxy


I Think We're Alone Now

"Children, behave"
That's what they say when we're together
And watch how you play
They don't understand
And so we're running just as fast as we can
Holding on to one another's hands
Trying to get away into the night
And then you put your arms around me
And we tumble to the ground and then you say

CHORUS:
I think we're alone now
There doesn't seem to be anyone around
I think we're alone now
The beating of our heart is the only sound

Look at the way
We gotta hide what we're doing
'Cause what would they say
If only knew and so we're running just as fast as we can
Holding on to one another's hands
Trying to get away into the night
And then you put your arms around me
And we tumble to the ground and then you say

CHORUS

Running just as fast as we can
Holding on to one another's hands
Trying to get away into the night
And then you put your arms around me
And we tumble to the ground and then you say

All of a sudden I find myself hurtling through space
With only the taste of your lips as evidence
That I once battled against your chronic indifference
When we couldn't go the distance I was left crippled
Dead, sure of the outcome
You lose some, you get thrashed in some

CHORUS (x2)


Russian Roulette

Killers at the funeral
Lavishing success
Hidden in the shadow
Showing no regret

There was thousands of people
To watch you go by
There's a bad actress
There's an alibi

And she tried not to smile
As they lowered him down
Squeezed out a few tears
For the sake of the crowd
She glides like a ghost
A sacred silhouette
On a horse with no name
In the valley of death

CHORUS:
Russian roulette
Russian roulette
Russian roulette

Got to the ember
There was no cigar
Wondered why I bothered
To come this far
It was asking a lot
But I still believed
There was some life left
In a black widow's dreams
Smoking man's cigarette's
Like it's all you got left
On a horse with no name
In the valley of death

CHORUS

Pass me my brain, I'm leaving
Before I go stir crazy
Promise if I'm still breathing
You'll do the honours, baby

CHORUS


Opposite Ends (Live at St. Louis)

If you sit there and think
Who am I?
How did I get here?
What is going to happen when I die?
You can scare the hell out of yourself
For all our science and philosophy
Nobody actually knows what happens
After the last gasp
Where we go, or what we become
After the last gasp
All of a sudden I find myself hurtling through space
With only the taste of lips as evidence that I once
Battled against your chronic indifference
When we couldn't go the distance I was left crippled
Dead, sure of the outcome
You lose some, you get thrashed in some
The bruises became uniform
The leather belt worn
I struggled to think of a beastlier beast
Than the beast you became upon crossing swords
With the use of stimulants
Driven only by the herculean desire to fill your body
With anything which helps you forget
That it's a body in the first place
Haunted by the uncontrollable urge to have sex
For which I sometimes fear the only cure is castration
Or murder
But you are still my colditz
I still your truck-stop whore
If this is it, if this is all there is
I don't wanna play no more
Beneath the searing bookend
Of the earth's reptilious skin
You painted a picasso, gored,
The rocks below soften our fall
We take no prisoners, leave nothing, only ghosts
Creeping down the silk road
From the third world to the fucked-up world
Kill everything that moves
Yes I was a fool, yes you were a fool
But who can name the penny
That has not been in the pocket of a fool

(song as album)


The Ballad of Seichi Taniguchi

Just a kid on a bus in downtown Hiroshima
Quitting from Monday through Friday
Everyone look at the wannabe bandito screaming
Pretty soon none of you are breathing

CHORUS:
Consider it, breathing
Not even remotely alive
All those who chose to laugh at me
Are history
All those who made my life a misery
Are history

Just a happy life for an unhappy Hiroshiman
Front page has never looked better
Headlines speak of the wannabe bandito screaming
Pretty soon none of you are breathing

CHORUS

All those who chose to laugh at me
Are history
All those who made my life a misery
Are history


All lyrics are, naturally, copyright the band.
Worked out by ear. Corrections to the usual address...

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