НИИ КОСМЕТИКИ or the Scientific Research Institute of Cosmetics are a rather extraordinary Soviet pop group who I’d say win the title of having the best band name translated into English. The group was created in 1984 by a certain Michael “Methodius” Yevsenkov in a cellar in the Moscow underground, which is where they stayed for most of their career. This relatively obscure group, even in their own time, make some of the most wonderful lo-fi jams one could ever hope to hear within an average lifespan. Please do yourself a favor, and savor the wonder below.
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During the 80s, every move of the group was perceived to be a scandal. Not only were they operating illegally, since all musical groups in the Soviet Union were supposed to be registered with the government, but they were also shocking their contemporaries on the fringe with live shows that were said to resemble parties more than concerts. It was not uncommon for there to be more actors and actresses on stage than musicians. Organizers of their shows were even interrogated by the KGB on occasion, but Methodius himself, it was said, was a fearless guy. In 1986 НИИ КОСМЕТИКИ self-released their first album titled “История болезни” (The Case Record) which is where the above song comes from. The following year they released another album “Военно-половой роман” (The Military-Sexual Novel). Both of these albums were well received by their constituency as one reviewer put it these albums have a “bright-romantic character with a shade of decadence.”
In 1990, НИИ КОСМЕТИКИ released another album and shortly after this Methodius left for Holland, effectively killing НИИ КОСМЕТИКИ in the incarnation that it was in at that time. All I could find out about Methodius during his time in Holland was that he wrote music for pornographic films, which I suppose is enough information after all. Five years later Methodius arrived back in Moscow and attempted to revive his old group, НИИ КОСМЕТИКИ, with little to no success. The group did play a few shows and released 5 more albums, but was never able to reach the prior bar they had set for themselves. Evidently, they fell off the face of the earth in the later half of 1998. Despite this, they are sure to live forever in the ears and hearts of those who hear them.