Review: Sounds of Sputnik/New Born feat. Ummagma

I’ve just recently had the opportunity to hear Sounds of Sputnik for the first time and it served as a reminder of why I write about music. This is a band that deserves a wider American audience and if I can do my part to expand their listener base to even a few more people then all the hard work I put into Echoysnthetic every week is worth it. If you can’t tell already, I’m pretty excited about the album. Let’s dig a little deeper.

New Born was released last May on Moon Sound Records and at its core beats a shoegaze heart. The foundation set down by bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, etc. is present in all of the tracks but this is no mere imitation. Roman Kalitkin writes songs that don’t wander about without purpose, and at no point do you feel like Sounds of Sputnik aren’t pushing things forward. In fact, there are some very strong progressive roots here as well. These songs have weight, they ebb and flow, and carry you through to the finish. If that’s all that there was I’d still be singing the album’s praises, but no, there’s more.

The album features the Ukranian/Canadian duo of Ummagma. Alexx Kretov and Shauna MacLarnan add their ethereal post punk sound to the progressive shoegaze of Sounds of Sputnik and something magical comes out the other side. On paper that sounds like a crazy combination but it works. It works so well that the project garnered the attention of quite a few big names in the industry, including producer Fran Ashcroft (provided a brilliant remix of Light Scheme), Malcolm Holmes of OMD (remixed New Born), Russian producers Morozov and Oleg Mezherovsky, and Brazil’s Mind Moves also provided remixes. As if that wasn’t enough, Graham Bonnar of Swervedriver/Brian Jonestown Massacre provided drums for the track Overdrive and Marc Joy (Primal Scream, Oasis) helped master the album. Not too shabby for a debut!

Sounds of Sputnik were the longest charting Russian indie artist ever on the CMJ college radio charts, won the Jaegermaister Indie Music Award (Russia’s equivalent to the British Mercury Prize), and won the Best Eastern European Video for New Born at the Independent Music Video Awards. Alright, I’ve prattled on long enough. Check out the videos and head to their sites and support their art.

Sounds of Sputnik: FacebookBandcampYouTubeSoundcloudReverbnationTwitter

Ummagma: Official WebsiteFacebookBandcampTwitterYouTubeSoundcloud

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