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March 22, 1985 - Image 15

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1985-03-22
Note:
This is a tabloid page

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w w

V V VwV

w w w

worst job known to man," and other
band members are dutifully described
B ritish as busily "searching for the perfect silk
cravat" when not indulging themselves
on oysters, Dexter Gordon records, and
(continued from Page 1). "the occasional Jack Daniels.") Plus

T O GET TO THE UGLY POINT of
the matter with brutal abruptness,
Sade's debut LP Diamond Life wouldn't
get jackshit attention if it was from an
established American female singer
who didn't look like she stepped form
the glossy pages of Italia Vogue. The
album frequently sounds like a glassy-
smooth setting for Phoebe Snow or
Roberta Flak, but if either of those two
had actually released it, they'd get little
more than bow of cult loyalty form the
buying public and respectfully bored
press notices. If anything, the press
would probably express mild, kind sur-
prise that the artists would bother at
all with such near-easy-listening
watered soul and funk when they ought
to be grasping at commerical straws
via disco 12-inchers instead, like
everybody else.
But this isn't a Flack or Snow LP.
Folassade Adu is Nigerian, gorgeous,
impeccably and relentlessly
photographed, and her backup band is a
bunch of sensitive Britboys, with the
essential pallid complexions, advan-
ced-ski-slope noses, sallow pretty eyes,
and doubtlessly canny commercial in-
stincts. White-bread soul has been big
in Britain for a long time now, and Sade
artfully cashes in on that as well as on a
sherbet-and-caviar-flavored air of
cosmopolitan sophistication. (In a con-
cert souvenir program, Folassade calls
modelling-her prior career-"the
EUROTAN
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there's the added value of milking the
.established British taste for Third
World exoticism.
This is not to say that Diamond Life is
not highly polished-that's to be expec-
ted - and most geniunely
pleasant stuff, of its
woozy-bluesy, Hush Puppies
funk, not-too-well-bared soul sort. It is
very pretty, but it's essentially cocktail.
music for the Fitzgeraldean dilettantes
of the wave scene-the ones who, if
People Mag. could be re-slanted for the
Face crowd, would be 'caught' in party
shots with captions like "Charming
Felice Blank divides her time between
dabbling about at the art school and
finding the perfect new hair-
colorer/shaper. As for the latter, quips
the punkette: 'It doesn't exist! But now,
I ought to know!' Here she's seen in a
relaxed mood, drinking Long Island Ice
Teas (housemate Scot's own recipe)
and listening to something import, of
course, amid the '60's b & w swirl
upholstery and Ian McCulloch
posters."
Get the picture? Diamond Life is
charming, and it even has several good
songs but such dependence on cham-
pagne foam invites flatness. And there
it is, just often enough to spell out how
perilously frivolous and derivative this
band is. The closing "Why Can't We
Live Together" is another in the recent
bum run of petrifyingly stupid anti-war
anthems, and the emotional, er, levity
of the group is made all too clear on the
deadly "Sally," some melodrama sort
of thing about a junkie-nursing
prostitute that just keeping going on
and on. On the other hand, there are
several lightly pleasurable tracks, like
the moderately funky "Cherry Pie,"
the sinuous. "Hand on to Your Love,"
the agreeable pop lament "Frankie's
First Affair," or the quite nearly
exhilirating "When Am I Going to
Make a Living."
Adu's vocals are, like the LP's in-
strumentation, airy, pleasant, and
never exactly challenged to push their
very well-defined limits. Diamond Life
fits its players like a silk glove, but one
is conscious of the calculated ease, of
hqw little they've earned their high-life
airs. Next time, I hope Sade opts for a
bit more fire and rather less im-
maculately chiselled ice.

SMART, CHATTY, SLICK rootsy
and oddly evasive, Lloyd Cole's
remarkably confident debut LP is just
at about everything a first album could
be at this precise moment in time, and a
lot of things one should be. Either these
guys have been honing their individual
skills in different bands for a long time,
or the band as a whole has been held at
arm's length from recording contracts
for many fruitful years due to
mysterious repeated screwups; you
don't just emerge sounding this well
seasoned. In any case, Rattlesnakes
has very little of the musical groping
about or perspective-seeking that
characterizes so many of even the best
first records. When it sidesteps direct
contact with us, there's an artful
reticence at work rather than simple
vagueness-you can feel Cole dipping
just his big toe into the swamp of pop
confessionalism, cautiously revealing
no more than he wants to.
The LP leadoff is the deliciously pop-
py "Perfect Skin," and that title can
serve as the ideal metaphor for the
record's initial impact-it's so smooth,
and uncluttered even if a few minor
cosmetic flaws might have helped by
adding a few missing character puzzle
pieces. The album is so instantly ap-
pealing that one immediately suspects
terminal shallowness under the sur-
face, a suspicion sneakily evaded by
lyrics obtuse enough to attract, then
frustrate close attention everytime.
The Commotions must have an
unusually canny producer (Paul Har-
diman), or else they've acquired very
quickly an unusually precocious sense
of how to use the studio; the occasional
strings and other frills are impeccably
employed.
The overall sound is hard to describe
because it isn't particularly this or that.
Maybe a poppier, slightly less whim-
sy-laden version of The Church? Or
maybe not. As with any album ever, the
main thing is that there are very good
songs, well played and recorded. Stan-
dout cuts include "Speedout," less a
pop tune than a short story-imposed on
one, with its gorgeously vulnerable
chorus "It wasn't my style to find surf
in my eye/ It was much more my style
to find sand kicked in my eye." OK, I'm
a sucker for the inspired pop weakling.
Other important songs include the ten-
sely reggae-edged love song "Forest
Fire," the ravishingly big-sounding
street grandeur of "Charlotte Street,"
(which includes another in the recent
line of swell bows to the Harmonica
God), and the agreeably scrambly
guitar sounds of "Four Flights Up."
r ----
BEACON ST.
ICE CR
' IT'S WAFI
Present this c
FREE waffle
with purchas
ice cr
March 2

AL BU M

S

Lloyd Cole: causes
commotion with 'Rattlesnakes'
Even better is the very nearly over-
produced "Patience" (the trick is in
falling just sholt of laying it on too
thick), and the anxiously intellectual
melancholy of "Rattlesnakes." As if all
this weren't enough, there's even a
gorgeous acoustic ballad about state-of-
the-art relationship failures, "2 cv."
Nervously beautiful, all of Rat-
tlesnakes is romantic im-
pressionism - it's about feelings not
quite laid bare but exquisitely half-
clothed, refined just beyond the bla-
tancy of (or capacity for) direct
emotion. Cole's own trembly, tone-
wavering voice is the perfect flagship
for the band; it neatly balances an air
of arty pop introspection with Kerouac-
y prose-spilling confidence. His per-
sona's a bit of an appealing cipher, but
that's the perfect counterbalance for
the . generally down-to-earth
acoustic/electric sound of the Com-
motions. OK, any band that manages
(or perhaps struggles) to mention both
Eve Marie Saint and Simone de
Beauvoir within a single chorus deser-
ves all the skepticism one can muster.
But Rattlesnakes is complicatedly suc-
cessful enough to get away with that
and a lot more. By the way, they're ap-
pearing at St. Andrew's Hall in Detroit,
March 30, and all trendies are advised
to be there, because Lloyd Cole is my
tip for the next big, or at least medium.
thing.
CREAMERY
EAM
FLE TIME
oupon for a
one or dish
e of a large
am.
2-28.

R E C E N T

'. > .

Go West - "We Close Our Eyes"
(Chrysalis, 12-inch single)
Oh boy oh boy, yet another synth band
screaming marketability and barley
leaking any personality from that land
of happy feet and hairdos, the U.K. OK,
enough easy sarcasm for this week. Ac-
tually, this is a pretty funky/catchy lit-
tle tune, with a supple-sounding lead
vocalist a bit reminiscent of George
Benson (though, thank god, he doesn't do
any of that awful I-am-an-instrument
doo-ba-doo-doo stuff). Good maximum-
memory-sticking chorus hook, the de
rigeur razor-sharp production. The six-
minute "Total Overhang Club Mix" on
side two is about as ultimately un-
necessary as one would expect, but it's
good enough of the type. (Six minutes is
admirably short for such things,
anyway.) The album is forthcoming.
D.H.
Alison Moyet - "Invisible (The Tran-
sparent Mix)" (Columbia, "12-inch"
single)
Moyet was the singer for the short-
lived but cult-enduring Brit snyth band
Yazoo, whose big club hit was the '81
"Situation." Moyet has that white soul
sound that Boy George, Wham! etc.
sell, but she's rougher and more
genuinely emotional in approach. "In-
visible" is a pretty good dancefloor
number that could serve for both gay-
disco and wavier formats. It's got a
nice fat striding-along beat that takes
its time, screw-you-you-jerk lyrics, and
the expected slick production. It's from
an as yet unheard Columbia debut LP,
Alf. The flip is a non-LP cut, "Hit-
chhike," with the Darts backing Alison
(in a Joplin mood) up on a doo-woppy
kind of Mamas & Papas pop-blues
thing. Nostalgic, cute, but not cloying.
The general question is, of course, will
Moyet have the smarts in choice of
material to be a great singer rather
than just a good one? So far, the in-
dication is a solid maybe. These are
both good songs, but not quite
memorable ones.

the Replacements - The Shit Hits the
Fans (Twin-Tone)
The Shit ... will probably be the last
release by The Replacements on Twin-
Tone, as they have just signed a mega-
bucks contract with Sire. It is an
especially fitting finale forthe band's
Twin-Tone years, as it is raw, drunk,
and downright ornery. The
Replacements are leaving the label the
same way they entered it.
This ain't for everybody. If you don't
like the idea of paying five bucks for
what amounts to a ninety-minute of-
ficially sanctioned bootleg from some
Replacement fan's tape recorder, then
stay away. The sound quality is poor,
especially when our would-be
bootlegger turns away from the band,
but what you get of the performance is
incredible. In the course of ninety
minute, The Replacements manage to
play half of every song known to man,
even though they're too drunk to stand
up.
Nody is safe from this band. Songs by
X, R.E.M., The Jackson 5, Thin Lizzy,
The Beatles, and all your chart faves
are assaulted with reckless abandon,
not to mention a few songs by The
Replacements.
All in all, twenty-five songs are at-
tempted, which amounts to about twen-
ty cents a crack for the buyer. This is a
real bargain, folks. Hilarious liner
notes, too. God, I hope these guys get
drunk enough for 'In-a-Gadda-DA-Vida'
next time they're in town.
J.L.
The Raves-Ups - Class Tramps (Fun
Stuff Records, EP)
Highly pleasing 6-song EP of
originals by this L.A. fourpiece. They
manage to revive various '60's ghosts in
that friendly Casper form, as opposed
to the Night of the Living Dead syn-
drome. In other words, the garage and
surfabilly consciousness here is more
employed that worshipped, The Rave-
Ups emerge less as nostalgists than as
solid modern writers/musicians with
the good sense to look at bit backward
for models of poppy-rock simplicity and
appeal.
The nearly punky rap 'n' chant com-
plaint of "They Do Talk," the surfin'
South-of-border-road-trip party of
"That Mexico Song" (featuring
abusive female sounds that are
reminiscent of one of Rita Moreno's
camp Chicanos), the wistful teen love

song "It's you," the Brit Invasion sound
of "A Girl We All Know" and the genial
convertible anthem "Right Now" are
all ample evidence that this band has
the riffs and confidence it takes to make
the by now de rigeur fuzzy guitars and
big beats come alive. The closing "Up
To Me" is a pro but less persuasive
piece of popsmanship. But 5-to-1 on a
debut disc is A-OK by me. The
freshness that comes through these
tracks is impressive even to an already
confirmed garagophile like me; this
band has a future, even after the
current wave of '60's obsession crests
and beaches. Highly recommended.
D.H.
Michael Bolton - Everybody's Crazy
(CBS)
Halter tops swaying in the summer
breeze. Passin' doobies and passin' out
from the Boilermakers you mixed in
the screw-top orange juice jug out of
discreet half-inches of everything in
Mom and Dad's liquor cabinet. Kick out
the jam's, man. Yeah, you're 16, bored,
horny, stupid, and life doesn't get any
better than this. Though secretly, you
may be praying that someday soon it
will.
D. H.
The Elvis Brothers - "Don't Take My
Guns Away" (Portrait, 12-inch single)
Terrific, catchy-as-bubonic-plague
single with mock Americana-goes-
obstinate attitude and one of those
choruses to drive the convertible off the
cliff edge for. Yes! Who are these guys?
Adrian Belew and George George
Tutko produced, and whoever the band
is (if CBS provided us with bios, we'd

know
well. 'T
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LARGEST BRIEFCAS

75 STYLES
TOP GRAIN
LEATHER

ann arbor civic theatre

Reservations 662-9
march 21,22,23,

main- street sta
4 RGurrne'ill

ge

presents

R
F
c
c
3E
e
2

GINTO
A LOOK AT THE

VALUES TO $130
$20-$30

SALE

1985 spring fashions
SUPPLEMENT TO
pick up your copy at various
locations around cam s on

IF YOU HAVE
ALWAYS WAN1
A BRIEFCASE
BUT DON'T W
TO SPEND AL
DON'T MI;
THIS SAL

IL .ki

i
6MA

I

I

I

9405
28,29,30

Hours 11:30 a.m. - 12 Midnight
S. University at Church

eatoo

338 south main street
8:00 pm tickets $5

e
1o

4-
CO

SUPER SALE EXTRA
U OF M, TRACK AND TE
SAT. MARCH 23 - 10-8, SUN. Mi

12 Weekend/Friday, March 22, 1985 .. -_ -_-

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