“Towards the end of our career in Russia,” states Black Russian‘s Natasha Kapustin, “we were allowed to perform maybe 25 percent of our material in English. But it had to be strictly middle-of-the-road stuff…” Partly for this reason, it seems, the trio renounced their Soviet citizenships in 1976, came to the U.S., and subsequently became the first Russian pop group ever signed by an American label. The slick and snappy vinyl results on their self-titled U.S. debut (particularly “‘Cause I Love You”) suggest that the threesome might soon also be the first Soviet band to make a mark on our charts. But the record additionally suggests that financial, not artistic desires may have prompted Black Russian’s trip to the West. If this stuff isn’t middle-of-the-road, I don’t know what is.