Wacky, wacky, wacky, but a little too self-consciously so to be counted among their very best efforts. Influence of Pink Floyd's The Wall looms very large, with maybe a touch of Queen and a distant echo of Zappa's Mothers of Invention. Includes drunken-soldier singing, a mock-operatic fragment, monkish chanting, back-masking, and a slew of miscellaneous and more or less arbitrary sound effects.
This is not to say, however, that Triangle does not deserve your attention: au contraire, mon ami! Let's start with "Mochalkin Blues," one of Akvarium's undisputed masterpieces. Over a smoky jazz-piano Boris's voice caresses and seduces, and when he tells you that he's the coolest of the cool guys, you damn well believe him, and if you were a mochalka yourself you'd be in his lap long before the last chords fade away. It would be wrong of me to suggest that if you don't love this song from first listen there's something deeply wrong with your karma, but the fact remains that our pity for you will not be unmixed with contempt.
Almost as wonderful is "Starik Kozlodoyev." It actually took me a long while to warm to this song—years ago I described it to a friend as something like "one of XTC's least successful b-sides." I have since seen the error of my ways, and overcome my irrational prejudice against kazoos (or is it a bicycle horn?) and xylophones. I now count Starik Kozlodoyev an old, incontinent friend, and only hope I'm as spry myself at his age.
Then, you really do have to like "Ruler of the Porcelain Tower," whose lead cello and subdued guitars merge with water-drop percussion to create the surreal soundscape of a drawn-out midsummer's night dream. "My Ant" is similarly and sneakily built around Gakkel's cello and very basic drums and triangles, and is a terrific song whether or not it makes a lick of sense (personally, I think more songs should be putatively addressed to the insect kingdom).
What else? Well, there's "Lieutenant Ivanov," with its musical-hall piano and kazoo chorus. There's "Two Tractor Drivers," about two tractor drivers: one who keeps Jean-Paul Satre in his pocket, and the other who plays Santana and Weather Report on the bayan. "Choral," on the other hand, poses the important question "What's better, foam or home?" (Foam of course, and who's buying that next round of Baltikas?) "Misha From the City of Screeching Statues" creates an eerie feeling with its gently reverberating bass and guitars, and, to follow, there's a lovely flute, guitar and cello interlude called "Guinevere." And more besides...sixteen tracks in all. This is the Akvarium album you put on when you're in a Monty Python mood for "something completely different." Buy it for "Mochalkin Blues" and the rest will gradually take root somewhere deep inside, truffles for the soul.
Additional stupid notes:
Tracks 3, 5, 8, 14, 15 co-written by BG and Dzhorzh (George).
Track 6 co-written with Olga Pershina.
Track 9 by Romanov and Dzhorzh.
Track 12 by Romanov.
Dzhrew nominates this record for the Sound Recording Least Matching the Packaging It Is Sold In Award. BTW, if you are having trouble finding the disc, it may be because you are stupid. This one's like The White Album that isn't actually labeled "The White Album." As in, you wont find the words "Треугольник" or "Triangle" anywhere on the record, just the word "Аквариум," a white triangle and some disturbing black-and-white photography.
If you want something—not in your conscience, but with your whole being—then it will come true. In a studio, which fell to us magically from Heaven in the spring and summer of '81, we recorded something I have always loved—an album of pure, reckless absurdity. Half the songs were written in the tram on the way to the studio, rehearsed and arranged on the steps of the Young Tekhnik Building while waiting for the sound engineer, famous for his tendency to be many hours late.
In his defence, I have to say that he took the madness which occurred extremely professionally. He himself played recorder [the term "block flute" had us confused, but the glorious Dutchisattva Dion identified it via Dutch cognate - Dji] on "Misha," and he essentially respected our uncompromising love for all things illogical. Basically, on "Triangle" (as it became known by people—in theory, the name is the symbol itself, which is unpronounceable) there wasn't a great deal of teamwork—probably everyone was just tuned-in to one and the same wavelength. It's on Triangle that Kuryokhin first appeared in Akvarium. Some friend recommended that we ask Kuryokhin to take part in the recording—to raise our musical/arranging level (and he was completely correct about this). The Captain came, happily bringing along his brilliance on the keyboard, ordered everyone to play for broke [?] on "Poruchik," and stayed with us for many years, disappearing and again reappearing. A whole lot of Akvarium would simply not have happened without him.
I met Olga Pershina (later "Perry," but now, I don't know) at Vasya's "Beatles' Birthdays." I've already forgotten what roused us and made us invite her to play on the recording. What's important is that she came, and didn't just sing, but also brought her compositional input ("2 Tractor Drivers"), but Seva [Gakkel'], contrary to his habit, sang solo. It's a shame that the original recording of "Hookiness" was lost—sung by Dyusha in the style of Ernst Bush (which gradually mutated into the album version; I barely listened to it, because I was sitting off to the side writing "Count Garcia.")
I took the masterpiece to Moscow with a trembling heart, and every last expert said nobody would ever listen to it. History showed that experts also make mistakes, as 85% of Russia fell in love with Akvarium precisely because of Triangle. Since that day, it is with pleasure that I heed critical reviews.
Translated from Songs by Dzhrew.