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April 08, 1983 - Image 13

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-04-08
Note:
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0

Spe ech
less
Inarticulate Speech of The Heart
Van Morrison,
Warner Bros.
By Leizer Goldsmith
W HEN VAN MORRISON went into
seclusion in the mid-1970s, he was
exhausted from touring and no longer
interested in making records. But since
his re-emergence in 1977 with A Period
Of Transition, Morrison has churned
out albums prolifically, and with a
respectable degree of success.
Even if Period and Wavelength
weren't as exciting as Saint Dominic's
Preview and His Band And Street
Choir, it hardly seemed necessary to
find fault with Morrison for not living
up to a legacy as awesome as that of his
early work. And when Into The Music
was released in 1979, fueled by
Morrison's conversion to "Born Again"
Christianity, it became evident that
given the right inspiration, Morrison
was still able to write and sing in a style
as articulate as anyone's
Van Morrison's greatest virtue has
always been his sincerity. When he
sang about Jackie Wilson in one of his
biggest hits, or name-dropped Sonny
Terry and Brownie McGhee in last
year's "Cleaning Windows," Morrison
was able to inspire his listeners simply
by conveying the emotion which he
heard in those others' voices. That
which might have seemed tongue in
cheek coming from Neil Young always
sounded real when Van Morrison sang
it.

In this context, Inarticulate Speech
Of The Heart, the new Morrison LP, is a
real letdown. Not only is this album
plagued by weak songs and muddy
production, but it also falls victim to the
very sanctimony which Morrison had
so carefully eluded in the past.
Last year's Van Morrison release,
Beautiful Vision, was a less than per-
fect album which consisted of a few
strong songs surrounded by a bunch of
throwaways. Inarticulate Speech Of
The Heart contains songs which sound
like leftovers from Beautiful Vision
("The Street Only Knew Your Name,"
"River Of Time"), as well as a new
batch of synthesizer experiments
("September Night"),. attempts at
Irish and Celtic sounds (you guessed it,
"Irish Heartbeat" and "Celtic
Swing"), and dull poetic diatribes
("Rave On John Donne"). But what
finally condemns this otherwise inof-
fensive album to near total failure is
that "Van The Man" begins to sound
like a parody of himself.
On "Inarticulate Speech Of The
Heart #2," for example, Morrison tries
to get away with releasing an incomplete
song simply by claiming that it was
born of sincerity. It sounds as if
the title was conceived before the tune,
which was then thrown together as a
remake of "Beautiful Vision," which it-
self was derivative of a dozen earlier
Morrison tunes. Likewise, "River Of
Time" is a steady Morrison soul num-
ber, which simply lacks the punch of
predecessors like "Beautiful Ob-
session" and "Almost . Independence
Day".
The lyrics of "River Of Time" run:
Heart and Soul!
Body and Mind!
Meet me by the river of time
These lines are repeated over and
over in .a fashion which is a
standard Morrison stylization, but pushes
the genre no further. The lyrics are cer-
tainly no revelation, and the music is so
completely familiar that it would have
required a remarkable performance to

make the tune worthwhile. Unfor-
tunately, this is not to be found.
In fact, none of the performances on
this album are of any particular in-
terest. There are no guest appearances
on Inarticulate Speech like Dire Straits
guitarist Mark Knopfler's on Beautiful
Vision, and "The Van Morrison Band"
simply plays out Morrison's stream of
consciousness music perfunctorily.
Synthesist Mark Isham is featured
prominently on many of the cuts, in an
apparent attempt by Morrison to add
modern elements to his sound. The syn-
thesizer is, however, mixed far too
loudly on a number of cuts, and on
"River of Time" especially, seems,
actually to undercut much of the
emotional power which the song might
have conveyed. Van Morrison has used
synthesizers to positive effect in the
past, most notably on 1978's
Wavelength, but on Inarticulate Speech
their use seems excessively designed to
cover the basic weakness in the songs.
Not to be too hard on one as illustrious
as Van Morrison, there are at least a
few redeeming features here. "Con-
nswater" is an interesting attempt at
using traditional Irish melody, and
"Cry For Home," though certainly a
Morrison cliche by now, concludes with
some fine soulful shouting, in sharp
contrast to the half-interested ram-
blings which occupy most of the record.
Too bad the production on "Cry For
Home" (Morrison's own) makes it
sound as if it were recorded in the
garage with a bottom-of-the-line syn-
thesizer.
These few highlights notwithstan-
ding, Inarticulate Speech is very weak,
and one is left to wonder why one who
conceived of such pop gems as "Moon-
dance" and "Domino" was so lacking
for new ideas this time around. There
are two possible answers to this
question. The cynic suggests that
Morrison ishsimply following his
prescribed policy of putting out albums
with great frequency, which he stated
in several interviews last year. If this
be the case, then the new album can be
dismissed as an ill-advised record

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FASHION ISSUE

I

The Forecast Page 5
Trendiness, faddishness, and cheerleader cutesy
are out. Individuality and personal statements are in.
Aren't you glad we told you that before you made a
fool of yourself? Cover photo by Brian Masck.
Catherine Hipp extended shoulder dress in
monopoly blue cotton lawn. Available at Ayla.
Why I wear what I wear Page 11
Our fashion correspondent uses the Daily as a
forum to praise some of her friends.

Store reviews

Page 12

Revenge (or warning). The people who take your
money in exchange for habiliment are subjected to
critical scrutiny.

which probably was made by a
relatively uninspired Morrison, who
felt compelled for whatever reasons to
put it out.
The apologist, on the other hand, may
take Inarticulate Speech as some sort
of experimental foray into Jazz and
"New Music," and may consider the
album's apparent lack of heart as a
manifestation of Morrison's attempt to
be something other than just Irish Soul
Brother #1.
Van Morrison has been on the scene
now for close to two decades, and he has
recorded as much worthwhile music as
anyone in the rock era. If you haven't
got them already, albums like Saint
Dominic's Preview and the truly trans-
scendent Into The Music, are
highly recommended for anyone who's
interested in a man who has stretched
the rock idiom in countless fascinating
directions Inarticulate Speech Of The
Heart, however, serves neither to ad-
vance rock nor Van Morrison's desire
to be recognized beyond it. Not only is it
truly inarticulate, but it hardly seems
to come from the heart.

Fashion losers

Page 15

The many. The unfortunate. The sartorial incom-
petents. A heartless expose.
Sew your own Page 15
Have you ever mused, "Gee I wonder what it's like
to make one's own garments?" You haven't? Read
the story anyway.
THEATER
Mime time Pages 22-23,
The University Mime Troupe puts on a fresh face
this weekend, while a Beggar on Horseback arrives
at the Power Center. Also, laugh with Sunday Fun-
nies tonight.
FILM
Sad Boys Page 25
What happens when Sean Penn, the doped-out-
beach freak of Fast Times at Ridgemont High, goes
to a detention center? Find out with this week's
review of Bad Boys.

University mime troupe: Two-faced

9

THE LIST_
Happenings

Pages 25-28

Honda power Page 32
Honda has long powered the motorcycles and
dreams of American teenagers and Japanese auto
executives across the Pacific. Detroit honchos have
long envied the unique cultural and corporate en-
vironment which made Honda successful; Tetsuo
Sakiya's new book examines the whys and hows.
DISCS
Three pop platters Pages 33-34.
Todd , Rundgren, Kimberley Rew, and Chris
Stamey have one thing in' common: they have all
come out with excellent new records which reflect the
ideals of contemporary rock music. It's a wonderful
life...
Also this week, new releases from two classics:
Von Morisson and Roxy Music.~

Roxy
gocrazy
The High Road
Roxy Music
Warner Bros.
By C.E. Krell
TYLE. 1970s. Make up, feather boas
coiffed hair. The sexy grind, the
gocrazy guitar, the gocrazy drums, the
gocrazy bass, the gocrazy saxphones
and oboes, the gocrazy treatments, the
gocrazy piano, the gocrazy voice.
Imagine a basement full of sweaty
people, mass body movement, boun-
cing up and down, doing the Strand with
(what's her name?) Virginia Plain.
Those crazy kids.
Roxy Music did not tour the United
States in support of last spring's
Avalon. Enter The High Road, a new 4
track EP, an aural glimpse of
Roxynow.,
We've all grown up now, the boas are
bye bye, a bit of a paunch. What can ya
do? Music for adults. No more 'scleen
and Thunderbird, just iced Stolichnaya
and free base-balls in the snow. The

girls, oh year, they scream, cos Bryan
he's still around, charming the
wayworn sentimental way. Married,
but still the durable incurable.
In this live set, the songs are half
Bryan, half O.P.'s (Ferrycovers). Still
in there woo-pitching are originals An-
dy Mackay (saxaphones) and Phil
Manzanera (twistguitar), and a host of
session others, including the obligatory
whirlygirlys on backup moans. Style
now is big band percussive sleekness,
rhythmically anchored and synthetically
bubbled.
And for mature guys (and gals), they
swing. "Can't Let Go" is the dancebop
that Santana will never ever be: lots of
skins, the keen sheen vocals and
keyboards, and streetlamp sax and
Phil. OK, Phil plays guitar in a rock
band, therefore he is a rock guitarist.
But it's ok, he's cool. Cool because he
plays the same notes (and some new
ones) that you may have heard, but he
plays them in a different order. We like
the guitar if Phil plays it.
On "Like a Hurricane," hear Phil
feedback Neil Young (we also like the
guitar when Neil plays it) into Phil
into Neil imitating Phil imitating Neil.
Oh, and listen to the sax on the chorus,
right behind it, as it is as playful and
neat as a bunny. Bryan sings this one
using the Method, digging into the
Scene of the crowded hazy bar. Ol' Neil
never sounded so damned dreamy. And
the girls, well, o1' Neil never quite could
figure out what to do with all those
voices. He probably wouldn't like all

Your guide to fun times for the coming week in Ann
Arbor. Film Capsules, music previews, theater notes,
and bar dates, all listed in a handy-dandy, day-by-day
schedule. Plus a roster of local restaurants.
EXHIBITS
Blixt plx Page 29
Blixt Gallery hosts a not-quite-picture-perfect
exhibition of Darcy Drew Greene's photographs. Ex-
pose yourself to this week's review.
MUSIC
Margueritaville Page 30
The master of Carribean mellow returns to Ann
Arbor April 10 for an evening of ballads and soft core
rock. The Hill Auditorium concert promises to be a
memborable one as Buffet performs songs from his
latest release, Somewhere Over China, and favorites
from his classics.
CLASSICS
Simply Solti Page 31
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, perhaps the
finest such ensemble in the whole entire world, per-
forms at a sold-out Hill Auditorium this week. Sir
Georg Solti, current dean of American conductors,
directs.

Fashion Editor............................Phillip Lawes
Fashion Editorial assistants................Pamela Gould
Mara Moradoff
Sales Manager...........................Meg Gibson
Sales Representatives.....................Steve Bloom
Debbie Dioguardi
Eric Friedman
Jennifer Greene
Ingrid Halpern
Elizabeth Levy Navarro
Tim Pror
Jim Schoenburg
Aaron Talsky
Scott Waxenberg
Julie Winokur
Fashion Photographers...................Brian Masek
Jeff Schrier
Wendy Gould
Doug McMahon
Elizabeth Scott
Tod Woolf

Fasnion: Cornered

Hair consultant............
Make up...................
Models

Roxy Music: No feather boas

Alan Blum1
Christine Eldred4
Paul Fleuranges ]
Kenny Gear
Pamela Gould
Mary Alice HaywardI
Jackie Hats

Dede Key
Sarah La
Fred Leap
Gwen Le1
Adolfo Li
Becky Ma
Carl Miri

that shouting, but this is Roxy, this is
Style music.
Sadness, Sadness. Loneliness. Tired.
There are two songs on this record
where Bryan, he sounds weary, yet s-u-
a-v-e. "My Only Love" a quiet, dubious
sexbeat, subversive in a way; "Jealous
Guy," a Lennontune of nonscream
proportional, "I'm just a jealous guy"
croonspeak. Everybody here is alone;
where did the band go? Bryan is out all
tiny like in a spot (probably baby blue)
weaving vanilla smoothies. Andy,

weeps into reedy rapture, Phil doesn't
even distort, just picks platitudes in
purple. Sigh.
OK, so The High Road not remade or
remodeled spurts of joynoise trip beat.
It ain't what it used to be, But it'll do.
There just isn't a choice once you're a big
person. And there is an undeniable
prettiness (what, in rock and role) to
this Musique de Roxy. At least there is
a girl on the cover. Shit, though, we're
older now, so she has her clothes on.
tongue firmly cheek implanted.

Weekend Weekend is edited and managed by students on the Weekend, (313) 763-0379 a
Vo- 18 staff of The Michigan Daily at 420 Maynard, Ann Ar- Daily, a64- )2 Circulation,
Magazine Editor ....... ................Ben Ticho bor, Michigan, 48109. It appears in the Friday edition tising, 764-0554.
Associate Editors ..................... Larry Dean of the Daily every week during the University year
Mare Hodges and is available for free at many locations around the Copyright 1983, The Michigs
Susan Makuch campus and city.

X134 We/r Ar'W'1983 ...

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