Space Cossacks

Tsar Wars

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Tsar Wars Review

by Richie Unterberger

While Tsar Wars is an amalgam of 1960s surf rock styles rather than a refreshingly new take on the genre, it's very well done and well played. Most of the songs are original, and credit must be given not only for writing material but also for picking a pretty obscure (to Americans) cover choice in "The Crusher," first recorded in 1963 by the fine Australian surf band the Atlantics. You can hear chunks of numerous major surf and instrumental guitar artists being blended here: the Ventures, Dick Dale, the Shadows, and the Tornados. There are also touches of science fiction and outer space ambience and the exotic Middle Eastern and Latin-influenced melodies that have always been integral to much surf rock. The sound is lean, crisp, and appropriately reverbed, the guitars picked with dexterous skill, and the generally high-paced program broken up by some lazy Hawaiian-influenced tunes.

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