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Messer Chups - Hyena Safari Review

by Daniel Walker

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Oh, Mother Russia! I have not yet glanced at the beauty of the Kremlin, but you have given me something to salivate over while I wait! Imagine 18 tracks of the Pulp Fiction theme song "Misirlou" and add in lots of cheesy B-horror movie samples and effects and you have this album. Honestly, this is the perfect album to host a Halloween party to...not too morbid (so you can invite the young and squeamish), yet dark enough to fit into the spirit of supernatural revelling. Hell, you may even want to put one of these tunes on repeat!

To the untrained ear, Hyena Safari may sound like nothing more than a standard "Halloween sounds" album you might pick up from somewhere like Wal-Mart, but it's actually so much more than that. The experimental surf rock these guys put out is so damn catchy and fun that you may feel like you're under a delightfully sinful spell. Rollicking grooves and trippy underbeats mesmerize as several interludes from dastardly witch cackles to vampiric monologue bring out the evil Uma Thurman within. A long solo of diabolical screams on "Coffin Dolls" even sounds genuinely frightening.

Oleg Gitarkin supplies the guitars, programming, synthesizers, polyvox, rhythm 2, and a voice on "Devil out of Fashion"; Zombie Girl supplies bass guitar, voice on tracks 11, 13, and 17; and Alexsey Lazovskii creepily whistles on tracks 4 and 8. The only person missing from this ghoulish ensemble is the beloved, world famous theremin player Lydia Kavina, who added her extreme talents to past recordings. To find out what a theremin is, check out the following link (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theremin).

Highlights on this are really all over the place, but I suggest listening to the first three tracks to begin with, as they are the most focused. Also, lend a close ear to "Charade" (Yes, Fantomas did a cover of the same original "Charade" on their album The Director's Cut), "Popcorno", "Devil out of Fashion", and "Hexe Chips". There are no real singles on here, so not many tracks are eclipsing others into oblivion. I think it's fair to say, however, that some songs are more to-the-point and visceral than others. Still, none of these tracks are really 'songs' in the traditional sense, but more like precise, wicked groove rides at the local fair's haunted house.

Another treat for you are five videos for "Night of Open Coffins", "Inferno Image", "Hexe Chips", "First Love of Szandor Diabolikoff", and "Difficult Love" (which isn't even on the album). They aren't anything special, but feature a veritable smorgasbord of horror imagery and even some bare-breasted women. The inlay features an 'anthropological' timeline in which a woman dressed up like a hyena actually transforms into one.

It's too bad that Lydia was not on this album, as I'm sure her playing would have further enlivened and texturized the overall sound. For this album, though, the myriad synth effects and others are enough to make it worth repeated listens.

Tracklisting:
1. Night of Open Coffins
2. Cat's Mummy
3. Inferno Image
4. Charade
5. Dark Dealer
6. Popcorno
7. Skeleton Topless
8. Last Last Inch
9. Little Blood Sucker
10. Devil out of Fashion
11. Music to Watch Zombie Girl by
12. Sex Change
13. Fender Satanic Limited Edition
14. Hexe Chips
15. Coffin Dolls
16. First Love of Szandor Diabolikoff
17. Hyena Club
18. Jamaica

VIDEO: 1. Night of Open Coffins 2. Inferno Image 3. Hexe Chips 4. First Love of Szandor Diabolikoff 5. Difficult Love


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Messer Chups - Hyena Safari

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