Page 8 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 7, 1987
(Continued from Page 7)
burner in typical Suns fashion,1
combining the whoosh of John
Williams' guitar with the shimmy-
shimmy-thump of Jeff Wiegand's1
bass with the scratchy-throated c
witticisms of drummer Peter
Prescott : "I'm a collector of stuffc
that most folks ignore/You know 1
that one man's ceiling is another
Prescott draws on the rush of
intense energy that his former band,
Mission of Burma, used to create,
but adds the new dimension of.
hooks that are as instantly
hummable as the cadence of a
Xerox machine. The Suns have the
ability to start a song with a slow
burn, such as the laid back intro
churn to "Sounds Like Bucks," then
spin suddenly into a speedy assault
of supersonic proportions, leaving
both Prescott and the listener
gasping for breath. Maybe a little
too much of the album fires ahead
at this frenetic pace; a song like
"Ride the Cog," for example,
crosses the fine line between
adrenalin rush and formless thrash.
Another cut, "Room With a View,"
lopes along as if it were going to
go someplace but actually goes
nowhere at all.
Still, All Night Lotus Party is
a solid effort, and if not a definitive
improvement over their great
debut,The Bright Orange Years, it
at least makes moves towards
atoning for the sins the band
committed during their lackluster
August show at the Blind Pig.
When all their spicy ingredients are
combined in the proper stew, the
Volcano Suns make Kilauea look
like just a big pimple.
Jason and The
I often find that in the course of
becoming acquainted with a record,
one track will stick out in my
mind; sometimes a fave and
sometimes a real dog.
Well, when I think about Still
Standing, I'm haunted by the
spectre of its cover of "19th
Nervous Breakdown," a rhyth -
mically leaden rendition topped off
by what (I hope to God) will go
forever unchallenged as Jason Ring -
enberg's worst vocal performance.
Unfortunately, although this is the
clear low point of the record,
Ringenberg's vocals are often
detrimental to the success of the
songs - not only does he sound
painfully strained on several tracks,
but the force of his voice is
lessened by its anonymity in the
mix. The authority and the swagger
of Jason's vocals are largely absent
- Still Standing captures the
worst of all possible worlds in this
With all my carping, however, I
still don't view this record as a
disaster; only as a disappointment.
Jason can still compose good
songs, and they have got several
gems tucked away in their portfolio
- surely the well hasn't dried up.
What concerns me more is the
growing distnace from their country
roots (what price MTV?) and the
nagging question of whether
Jason's voice might be shot.
- Jeff Stanzler
The Jazz Butcher
The Jazz Butcher, or Butch as he
is affectionately known, had been
stewing in his creative juices for
too long to continue to go
unnoticed. Having developed
something of a cult following back
at home in England, Big Time
Records brought a sampling of his
work with his Conspiracy stateside
in the form of Bloody Nonsense, an
eclectic disc culled from his
numerous EPs and LPs which was
released last summer. A national
tour was in order, and its success
this summer showed that the Jazz
Butcher was more than merely a
All of which sets the stage for
Distressed Gentlefolk, the first JBC
record made readily available to the
now eager American consumer.
"Haven't heard of 'em," you say?
True. There are still many people
who have yet to be eager for a new
Jazz Butcher record. But haven't
you heard that eccentric, charming
Englishmen are in fashion these
Gentler in affect than some of
the more overtly twisted ramblings
of the brilliant and now luminous
Robyn Hitchcock, Butch's (whose
real name is supposedly Pat Fish)
humor is dry and softly ironic. His
influence is the Velvet Under -
ground, not Syd Barrett.
Dropping the fiery R&R
abandon that characterized songs
such as "Caroline Wheeler's
Birthday Present," Butch and Co.
get a little refined on Distressed,
with a success rate only they could
pull off. The album is a hodgepoge
of musical styles. "Falling in
Love" ("a real bad case," they say)
is a standard loner's romantic tune;
"Big Bad Thing" rocks out, but it's
entirely suppressed by its fear,
guided only by a steady thump
instead of a full drumkit. The
joyous dance of "Hungarian Love
Song" ("I'll be your breakfast/I'll
be your dinner/You won't go
hungry/You won't get thinner")
perfectly matches the soothing
drone of "Who Loves You Now?"
while "Still in the Kitchen," with
its dreary melancholy, shows they
haven't forgotten the Velvet Under -
ground. And "Domestic Animal,"
an ode to our sexually neutered
pets, is Butch at his frivolous best.
The Jazz Butcher Conspiracy
won't be the big stars of '87, and
it's doubtful you'll ever see them
on MTV. But with a rapidly grow -
ing popularity, this new album is
even more good reason to love 'em.
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