4/15/17 – Powder! Go Away “Laika Still Wants Go Home” (2011)

Powder! Go Away is a Russian Post-Rock band that I should really dig deeper into, I’ve listened to this album a lot and they’ve got a few more albums I feel like I would love. Laika Still Wants Go Home is their debut, dedicated to to Laika, the first dog launched into orbit. The album title alludes to how the satellite was never intended to return to Earth, and Laika never made it back home.

It’s hard for an album without lyrics to dedicate specifically to a subject, but they do it well, and subtly.  The introduction track Nobody Knows What Do The Clouds Think When They See Themselves In The Sea starts off with some stock space/computer/rocket sounds, and Laika Still Wants Go Home starts off with some Russian vocal sample I can’t identify. More than likely he is talking about space or specifically this mission. There are a number of other samples to spice up the album, including a lecture from Einstein. Maybe it’s just the song titles and theme but the guitar tones even sound space-themed.

13.125 Miles Exploded By Hundred Oscillators is a much more sad song, and it’s place after the title track is likely to represent the loss of Laika.  This song ends with such a fantastic groove that just caps it all off perfectly instead of the usual explosion into Ambient Noise. What’s unique to Powder! Go Away is their use of Electronic Breakbeat samples, interjecting in the climax of their songs. They still have a traditional drum set playing in their songs, and the drummer is fantastic- he keeps up with the dizzying guitar playing excellently. I really, really like the production on this album, every instrument packs a punch and the drums really pound when they should.

Locomotive Comes In Your Dreams is a pleasant interlude with some unusual sounds accompanying a mournful piano. It’s obviously meant to break up the monotony but I never get that feeling with this band, as I do with some other Post-Rock bands. The instrumentation never stays still, they are always eager to change things up after a few bars. 13,125 Miles Exploded By Lights even utilizes what sounds like a computerized violin – I would’ve rather had a real violin but I don’t think I’ve ever heard a band try this before. Mushroom’s Radiation Can’t Make You Ugly And Ill, But Thoughtful closes out the album fantastically, a really enchanting song that fills my head. They always seem to throw a curve ball, and this is no exception – the 2nd half of the song is almost Punk Rock. It ends with some Morse Code that I wish I could translate.

As you can imagine, the song titles are likely improperly translated. I’m guessing the band is just too unknown for anyone to come by and correctly translate the album. They show a lot of promise on this debut, and that’s not to downplay how impressive this music is. It’s one of my favorite Post-Rock albums, one that’s an absolute “go to”. For how much I love this album, I should really get their other albums… I think I’ll go do that now.