|Laika & the Cosmonauts - Local Warming|
|Written by Chad Kincaid|
Imagine any "surf" album as a soundtrack for a day at the beach. Local Warming is a day spent watching small waves break gently on the shore as you soak up the sunshine from a beach blanket perched just out of the water's reach. A few upbeat cuts signify the bigger sets that may roll in, but for the most part, this disc is more rollicking, slow-grooving cruisers rather than your typical big wave, banzai, get-up-and-go screamers.
Hailing from Finland, Laika and the Cosmonauts have been together since the late 80s, spreading their Arctic brand of surf around the globe. While boasting strong keyboards and an overall spacey mood, Local Warming, their first release since a live album four years ago, infuses traditional surf with influences from all over the musical map. With the "wakka-chicka" of 70s funk, the pulsing riffs of The Who, and melodies bouncingly reminiscent of Danny Elfman, the whole bundle sometimes spirals off into the halting, slightly discordant jams of Frank Zappa. In fact, if the members of Phish ever decided to start up an offshoot surf band, this could be their first release.
In one standout track, the haunting "Key Role," the keyboard jumps between a slightly sinister carousel calliope, reggae-flavored backbeats, and completely out-of-left-field Arabic snake-charmer melodies. Yet despite its disjointedness, Local Warming manages to hold its own identity and leave the listener satisfied and relaxed by the end of the last cut...not unlike the meandering ride home from a day spent at the beach.