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November 07, 1985 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1985-11-07

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Page 8 - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 7, 1985

Husker Du - Flip Your Wig
Next to the paisley Prince and his
cache of purple harlots, the Huskers
have been the most talked about
musical force to emerge from Min-
neapolis in the last few years. Since
the release of the Metal Circus EP in
1983, the band has relentlessly and
successfully explored the loftiest
echelons of noise pop fusion, taking
what they needed from the past and
laying the groundwork for the future.
As industrious as they are creative,
Husker Du has since laid down one
double album, Zen Arcade (summer
1984) and one monster single LP, New
Day Rising (early 1985), both of which
blew the minds of critics and fans
throughout the free world and
established the band as prime pur-
veryors of timeless space rock.
So with their only true precept being
a commitment to change and ex-

citement, Husker Du have released
their second LP of 1985, Flip Your
Wig, a disc bound to make heavy
waves both inside and outside the
existing ranks of Husker disciples.
On one end, there's the hardliners,
craving the scarcely under control
high-end distorto-force of Bob Mould's
guitar and the over-the-top everything
beat cymbal-crashing rhythm secion
of Greg Norton (bass) and Grant Hart
(drums). In a way, this is the stuff
that makes the Huskers music soar,
the fuel that elevates their sound to a
plane where noise and beauty live as
one. And on Flip your Wig, this
sublime force that made songs like
"Somewhere," "New Day Rising,"
and "I Apologize" instant classics
just doesn't seem to happen like it
used to.
But when the space between your
ears is pushed open far enough,
another type of power and vitality
emerges. I mean who wants to hear

the same sounds over and over again
by folks who're more than capable of
creating new ones. Sure, Flip Your
Wig is the closest thing to a pure pop
record Husker Du has ever made, but
that doesn't necessitate a com-
promise in the balls department. They
sound as natural and inspiring here as
they do on the second side of Zen Ar-
cade. After all, if they wanted to
throw in the towel of integrity, the
Huskers'd've signed with one of the
umpteen major labels that've been
pounding down their collective door
for the past two years.
So what's actually going down in the
grooves of Flip Your Wig that's
causing all of this verbiage to fly?
First of all, the sound itself is new.
With Bob Mould and Grant Hart doing
the production themnselves, spaces
have gotten bigger and more wide
open, giving the sound more depth
and stability. The rampaging tidal
wave of Huskerdom is a bit more
refined and directed, making the
band's sound more solid and less fran-
Flip Your Wig is also quite a happy
record by Husker Du standards. The
dark pathos found on previous discs is

Husker Du is flying high (left to right) Grant Hart, Greg Norton, and Bob Mould.

by no means absent (check out "Find
Me" and "Every Everything"), but
the energy behind it is often re-
channeled in a more hopeful (But

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equally self-seeking) direction.
This goes hand in hand with a
maturity in the band's songwriting
that is evident throughout the entire
album. Hooks and choruses are more
tenacious than ever before, but retain
the characteristic Husker Du
propulsive power. Songs like
"Flexible Flyer," "Makes No Sense
at All," and "Private Plane" are all
instantly memorable but aren't the
least bit guilty of relinquishing all of
their secrets in the first few listens.
The increasingly prevalant vocal
harmonies sound natural and ap-
propriate and don't bog down songs
for their own melodic sake.
But that isn't to say that the album
has no problems. A couple of the songs
themsleves are kind of weak, par-
ticularly "Games" and "Keep
Hanging On," both of which suffer
from semi-cliched phrasing and
general cheesiness. "The Baby Song"
is a 46-second exercise in futility with
Grant Hart playing solo slide whistle.
The drum sound could also use a little
work, like some expansion or volume
to avoid sounding too flat (or too much
like wet cardboard).
But otherwise, don't let those har-
dline instincts wire your eardrums
shut. While Flip Your Wig doesn't
come rushing out of the speakers like
Zen Arcade or New Day Rising, it has
its own endearing and compelling
personality which is hardly devoid of
intensity or excitement. It remains a
powerful, intelligent, and affecting
record that rocks hard enough to send
this boy reeling every time it lands in
the o1' close 'n' play (which is often).
- R. Michaels
The Del Fuegos - Boston,
(Slash/Warner Bros.)
Good, clean rock 'n' roll is a lot like
a good hamburger: it's solid, beefy,
not too raw, and ultra-American. At
its low point it's greasy and geared up
for AOR - not unlike a Big Mac At-
tack. At its best it can be like a fine,
hearty sirloin burger. And the Del
become a
State of Michigan licensed programs
enroll today at
Foreign Language Instruction
(Spanish, French, English as a second language)
617 S. University, Suite 250

Fuegos . . . well, they come pr.et
close to that on their latest allu
Boston, Mass.
Boston, Mass., the band's ,first
record with Warner Bros, is aon-
siderably cleaned-up compliment to
their debut LP, The Longest Day. The
album's opener, "Don't Run Wild,"
best expressed this subtle change in
the band's style. It's calm and stapdy
rock 'n' roll that refrains from rally
kicking loose. Tame stuff, maybe?
Although more commercially orief
ted, it's not yet a sell-out. This is
suspicion many Del Fuegos .fans
might have had when they heard that
session guitarist Jim Ralson (who-has
played in Tina Turner's band) was
called to fill in on some parts of .the
album. Also contributing musicgl'ex-
pertise is producer Mitchell Froem on
keyboards. But, as plead
singer/guitarist Dan Zanes has said,
"We're not good enough to do it b
ourselves." Well, the added assista
ce does sound good - even if it isn't
exactly kosher. And you can't dislike
this record.
Once you get past the inifial
tameness of the album's opener,
"Hand In Hand" kicks off in fuller
force. The trace gets started with a
nervy gliss - the first of many' in-
dications of a heavier keyboards in-
fluence on this record. A true party
number, it then subsides (in temp
only) into the soulful, Tom Pett
esque "I Still Want You." Singer Dan
Zanes can't carry a tune, and ipn't
even really a singer - but what, he
lacks in pitch he sure makes up in
guts. No matter how much these guys
tried to polish their act on this record,
one can be thankful that Zanes acne
will always prevent them from falling
into the abyss of "slick" - it's gust
impossible with a voice that coarse
and possessed. The Del Fuegos ha4c
back-to-basics R&B approach,- pu
and simple. And that's a good-t"iing
tohave. i
The album does offer some diver-
sity, however. Tracks such as "Coupe
de Ville" and "Fade to Blue" have
more of a blues oriented sound to
them. In fact, this latter cut #even
takes on somewhat of an early Bruce
Springsteen (there, I said it) feed, -
especially with the lyrics: I'W be
there beside you baby, watchin'
allfade to blue.
Boston, Mass. is apparently a move
in a direction of the Del F4egos'
choosing; cleaner and less garage-
band sounding than their debut
album, while carefully retaining the
band's own style.
- Beth Ferg

E~I.,- v

ovember 9 -*8p
heater - Ann Art





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