Once upon a time, grasshopper, instrumental rock bands were common. Groups like the Ventures, Champs, Shadows, Dick Dale, and (the occasionally vocal) Link Wray & the Raymen rocked both sides of the Atlantic waithout the "benefit" of a singer. (The Who's Pete Townshend remarked that were it not for Wray, he might never have picked up a guitar.) Then the British Invasion and the intellectualization of rock rendered them passé. But anyone with a memory going back more than ten years knows music trends move in cycles. Although instrumental bands aren't climbing up the charts, they have carved a new niche, and Finland's Laika & the Cosmonauts is one of the better groups within their own genre. Not to be confused with post-rockers Laika, the roots of Laika & the 'nauts are in 1950s and '60s trash and noir film music, surf-rock (Dale), and cool soundtrack music such as Ennio Morricone (scorer of many a Sergio Leone spaghetti Western). The melodramatically ominous "Floating" and "Land's End" evoke... More >>>