Friday, February 18, 2011
Sheffield based post punk funk band, They Must be Russians were some of the unsung heroes of the genre, generally overshadowed by bigger bands of the era such as Orange Juice and Gang of Four. Their sojourn in obscurity was due to a couple of reasons. Firstly, their sound was not too particularly unique, and secondly because of label and promotional issues. However, they had a few groovin' jams in their brief catalog, which consisted of 2 LPs and a handful of EPs/singles in the late 70s and early 80s, most notably the killer titular hit-that-never-was-and-should-have-been, "Chains" on the Chains EP (which rivals anything OJ was putting out around that time). Featuring funky guitar riffs and bass lines, synthesized grooves, and a bangin' beat backing the track, it's a powerhouse and definitely their catchiest song. Why it didn't make their debut full length while the still solid, but not quite as enticing track "Gramophone" did is a total conundrum. Why a ton of their other songs are on youtube but "Chains" is not is also quite perplexing. With the inclusion of "Chains," their self-titled album could have been an underground classic, but instead it kind of drifted under the radar, even with the aid of their friends in higher places (Cabaret Voltaire, who assisted with production).
Don't get me wrong, it's still decent music, just not earth-shattering or genre defining by any means. I might even go as far as calling this group a one hit wonder, but that'd be unfair because like I said most of the stuff on their self-titled is above average for this genre, which saw a slew of doppelgangers during the epoch of its existence. It's just nothing to write home about. The main reason these releases were so sought after for the longest time and the reason I'm sharing this today is because of their recherché status. I'd really like to get my hands on their second and final (not to mention ultra rare) LP, Groundless Accusations, but it seems to be no where in sight. If anyone knows where I could find that release, please point me in the right direction. Thanks in advance and enjoy!
s/t 7" EP (1979)
Chains 12" EP (1983)
s/t LP (1983)