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MEANWHILE BACK IN COMMUNIST RUSSIA

Post Rock/Math rock • United Kingdom


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Meanwhile Back In Communist Russia biography
A band that refers to themselves as experimental glitter-art post-punk cannot be anything but extraordinary, eh? Meanwhile, Back In Communist Russia first saw the light of day in Oxford, England in 1999, when six local University students decided to form a band. During their brief existence, the band never managed to find a secure line-up for themselves - indeed, only the core members stayed the same from start to finish. While most bands of this genre tend to realy heavily on instrumentation and massive soundscapes, Meanwhile, Back In Communist Russia's method was quite different already from the start. The most prominent figure of this band turned out to be - rather surprisingly - their female vocalist Emily Gray, whose poetry is being read in most of their tracks. The (mostly spoken) vocals are backed up by slightly Mogwai-esque soundscapes and strangely entrancing electronic beats. While their sound may come off as a bit too calm at first, they're very capable of letting it all out with huge walls of noise when it's necessary. Their fairly calm style - with Gray's eccentric vocals - is one of the factors that ultimately helped them to become a completely unique entry in the post-rock scene. Unfortunately, the band disbanded in 2004, due to several reasons. James Shames and Tim Croston went on to form another band called Mesaplex.



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Discography:
Indian Ink, studio album (2001)
My Elixir, My Poison, studio album (2003)

Meanwhile Back In Communist Russia official website

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MEANWHILE BACK IN COMMUNIST RUSSIA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 2 ratings
Indian Ink
2002
3.64 | 5 ratings
My Elixir, My Poison
2003

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MEANWHILE BACK IN COMMUNIST RUSSIA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 My Elixir, My Poison by MEANWHILE BACK IN COMMUNIST RUSSIA album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.64 | 5 ratings

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My Elixir, My Poison
Meanwhile Back In Communist Russia Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Another excellent collection of deft post-rock playing overlaid with the sensual poetry of Emily Gray. This one is a little easier to find than the debut album Indian Ink, and I think is the better of the two, though at points it really is too close to call. The band split up a while after releasing this one after a series of issues (including a disastrous appearance on local television which ended in acrimony all round, when the band got so frustrated by the technical issues affecting their set they simply stormed off in disgust). But for a brief period of time, Oxford hosted a unique post-rock group who had the potential to rival Mogwai, Godspeed You Black Emperor and Sigur Ros for the crown, had they just stuck it out.

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 Indian Ink by MEANWHILE BACK IN COMMUNIST RUSSIA album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Indian Ink
Meanwhile Back In Communist Russia Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Oxford's short-lived Meanwhile, Back In Communist Russia were the town's very own home- grown stab at a post-rock band along similar veins to Godspeed You Black Emperor and Mogwai. Meanwhile bring their own unique sound to the table, a bit more electronic and prettified than the usual Mogwai/Godspeed approach, and on top of that you have the mysterious vocals of Emily Grey, who delivers her poetry (mainly focusing on neurotic sexual situations) in a breathless manner which reminds me of some of Jarvis Cocker's mysterious monologues on Pulp albums - except unlike Cocker, Grey never breaks out the Scott Walker crooning.

On the whole, the band achieve a uniquely atmospheric sound which may be a bit twee for some tastes, but on the whole I consider to be one of the great overlooked gems of the post- rock scene.

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 Indian Ink by MEANWHILE BACK IN COMMUNIST RUSSIA album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Indian Ink
Meanwhile Back In Communist Russia Post Rock/Math rock

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

2 stars This is a short EP from a band whose name was longer than their career. Meanwhile, Back in Communist Russia made a minor splash with their dark and artistic debut album ‘My Elixir, My Poison’; unfortunately the band dissolved shortly afterwards. ‘Indian Ink’ predates that full-length album, and features the song (“Morning After Pill”) that attracted the attention of DJ John Peel and earned the band three recording sessions in his studio.

While the music here does qualify as post-rock for the most part, the band has a unique shtick in the form of vocalist Emily Gray, who instead of singing spends her time reciting her poetry in a deadpan and dark spoken-word litany that comes off as a cross between the Cowboy Junkies’ Margo Timmins and Laurie Anderson. You won’t find too many post-rock bands doing that.

Unfortunately the novelty wears thin pretty quickly, and after the third or fourth song there really isn’t anything to hold one’s attention any longer. The band does have the ability to kick things up a notch musically when they feel like it, such as toward the middle of “No Cigar” and (in the form of digital drone) on “Now I am Lifting”. But the programmed drum tracks are dull and the sonic lows outnumber the high points by about four to one, so in the end the overall experience is tepid at best.

The band didn’t last long after this recording, and I can’t say I’m surprised. Ms. Gray has carried on in her quest to be the Emily Dickinson of post-rock with another band known as Ape Has Killed Ape! along with keyboardist Tim Croston, and the remaining members of the group all seem to have landed elsewhere in the music business as well. Best wishes to them in their new endeavors, but as far as this early work goes I can’t see rating it at more than two stars. Sorry.

peace

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 My Elixir, My Poison by MEANWHILE BACK IN COMMUNIST RUSSIA album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.64 | 5 ratings

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My Elixir, My Poison
Meanwhile Back In Communist Russia Post Rock/Math rock

Review by sularetal

3 stars While I was having a look at Prog Archive's list of post-rock/experimental bands, I was distracted by the brilliant name of this band. The name of the band made me want to see what they are really about so I checked their biography. Their excellent written biography can be considered a review of the album "My elixir, My poison", with a few historical information about the band, since it's their only album. Reading their biography only made my interest grow.

Thankfully the band was left with enough creativity to also create good music. At time, they are more post-rock, with compositions mostly seen in this genre and guitars creating a beautiful heavy and suffocating atmosphere while the programmed drums are more close to post-punk. Especially the drums remind you a lot of Joy Division. They are mostly "ok" but at times they can get really annoying. The music alone isn't anything so special though I can't say it's bad. The compositions are pretty simple but very well performed by keyboards and guitars. However, what makes this album magical is the voice of Emily Gray. She doesn't really sing. She reminds me of vocalist Mark E. Smith from the British band "The fall". Both of them have this eccentric style of "saying" the lyrics. It's like a monologue. Emily Gray is what makes this album so unique. A depressing but at the same time ambitious voice, full of emotion, that will captivate you from the disturbing opening track.

Overall, a pretty good album that is worth checking out mainly because of the vocals. Would give it four stars, because I really enjoy it, but is far from essential.

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Thanks to Jimbo for the artist addition.

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