Shuffle Aces: Laika And The Cosmonauts – Surf’s You Right

laika and the cosmonautsFinland and surf music aren’t normally connected in the same sentence, but those into the surf-revivalist scene know better. Laika And The Cosmonauts were formed in 1987 when guitarist Mikko Lankinen and drummer Janne Haavisto, who previously teamed in the like-minded Pluto & the Astronauts, added guitarist/keyboardist Matti Pitsinki and bassist Tom Nyman. Whilst nominally a surf rock instrumental band – and Surf’s You Right is a great starting point, they are classic examples of the Finnish rautalanka tradition… rautalanka?

Well, according to Wikipedia, “Rautalanka is typically played by a quartet consisting of a lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass guitar and drum kit. Rautalanka music can also include other instruments and vocals. The heyday of rautalanka was in the early 1960s, but it has enthusiasts even today. Typical features of rautalanka are sharp and clear melodies, fast tempos and extensive use of tape echo, but little or no overdrive or fuzz. What distinguishes rautalanka most clearly from other twangy guitar genres is that the melodies tend to be in minor keys and melancholic, based on folk tunes and schlager songs.”

Many well known musicians have been big fans – Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench (of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers), Mike Palm of Agent Orange, Dick Dale and Al Jourgensen of Ministry who called them “the best f**king band in the world.”

Sadly they disbanded in 2008, but for more from the band the album I’d recommend is Instruments Of Terror from 1992.

Sadly no social media or official band page exists

You can find all the Shuffle Ace tracks – including this one – on a Spotify playlist here.

Shuffle Aces is a series of posts that highlights a song of the week that “shuffling” has brought forth. With all the streaming services it’s not just an iPod on shuffle mode that we use to discover new stuff, but the principle remains the same: hit play and wait to see what gems come forth.

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