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January 30, 1989 - Image 24

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-01-30

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Life And Art FEBRUARY 1989


Queensiyche: A
new metal force
to reckon with
By Michael Sturm
The Daily Athenaeum
West Virginia U.
I'm sure that by now most of you have
heard of Queensryche. Unfortunately,
most of you have probably not heard
their music.
Oh, what you're missing.
Queensryche first hit the music scene
in 1983 with a self-titled EP, and soon
followed that up with The Warning, an
effort that features some of the band's
most impressive work.
It was 1986 before
their third album,
Rage For Order, was
released. This brood-
ing record was a se-
quel of the first mag-
nitude to The Warn-
ing and featured more
imaginative writing
Geoff Tate than the EP.
Finally, the group hit with the cul-
mination of years of work, Operation:
Mindcrime, released early last year.
Although the album was no monster
commercial success, it is an awe-
inspiring concept album often com-
pared to Pink Floyd's The Wall and The
Who's Quadrophenia.
Even though most folks haven't rec-
ognized them as one of metal's premier
bands (yet), Queensryche has definitely
become a force to be reckoned with. And
why not? The band has a great many
good points to recommend them to the
discerning metalhead (or anyone else
for that matter): production so slick it
makes the average album seem re-
corded on a portable tape recorder,
great writing, the best vocals in rock
music (not just metal) from Geoff Tate,
and some of the best arranged in-
strumental work around.
Editor's Note: Queensryche is currently tour-
inn with Metallica

~ k71

Edie Brickell (bottom left) and New Bohemians
New Bohemians captivate with
hearly mix of jazz, folk-rock

Cocteau Twins
swirl into moody
musical territory
By John Hastie
The Daily Illini
U. of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana
"Itchy Glowbo Blow," "A Kissed Out
Red Floatboat," "Suckling the Mender."0
No, you're not reading outtakes from a
schizophrenic's diary. You're reading
song titles from Cocteau Twins' latest
album Blue Bell Knoll.
This album is lighter than most of
Cocteau Twins' early work. The music is
simpler, mainly due to an admirable
attempt at cutting down on the use of
synthesized sounds.
The drums are real.
Synthesizers are now
used almost solely as
background instru-
ments, and don't car-
ry the bulk of the-
melody. Instead,
Robin Guthrie proves
the competence of his Elizabeth Fraser
guitar playing, including some acoustic,
making his contributions the most ob-
vious musical feature.
The newfound simplicity carries over0
into the vocals as well. They've finally
realized that the beauty of Elizabeth
Fraser's voice doesn't need effects. At
the same time, her vocals seem res-
trained at times. You get the impression
that Fraser is holding back, as if scared
to reveal the full range of her voice.
Apparently, Cocteau Twins have
been trying out new styles. Most of the
second side seems influenced by smooth0
island music, complete with marimba
and conga sounding drums.
Although Blue Bell Knoll does have
songs that stand out, like "Carolyn's
Fingers" and the title track, most of the
rest of the album sounds somewhat un-
exciting. The change in style is fresh
and welcome, but at this point, it shows
more potential than anything else.
a campy cabaret

By Steve Koziatek
The Shorthorn
U. of Texas, Arlington
Dallas has never been a spawning
ground for musical talent, but the de-
but from Edie Brickell and New Bohe-
mians should help remedy this bar-
ren image.
Shooting Rubber Bands at the
Stars offers a moving yet simple look
at life in all its variety. The band com-
bines a jazzy, folk-rock-based sound
with lyrics whose seemingly simple
approach brings the listener in touch
with life's ups and downs. Deeper
issues aside, this stuff is just plain
enjoyable to listen to.
Musically the album meshes jazz
and rock, although it may be unsatis-
fying for those who have followed
New Bohemians since their early
days. This album lends itselfbetterto
radio play.

"WhatIAm,"the album's first sing-
le, presents the dilemma of dealing
with philosophical problems and the
lyricist's unwillingness to get in-
volved in technological debates: I'm
not aware of too many things /Iknow
what I know, if you know what I
mean /Philosophy is the talk on a
cereal box /Religion is the smile on a
dog. One of the best songs here is "Air
of December," a dreamy, magical col-
lage of images depicting a failed rela-
Brickell's vocals lend credence to
her lyrics' complex yet childlike
approach. She shows candid pictures
of herself through her words, in the
way one shares stories with friends.
Edie Brickell and New Bohemians
deserve their shot at the big time. To
borrow one of their lyrics, they "fill in
the negative space with positively ev-

Tom Waits hones his craft with
By Eric Church
a The Daily Cardinal
U. of Wisconsin, Madison
Tom Waits' appeal is not always readily apparent. His
voice takes on about three personalities - all of them as
soothing as the sound of a truckload of rocks falling to the
ground. His tunes are frequently unhummable, and the
notes from the band rarely land where you expect.
But the man arguably possesses some of the most creative
talent this country will ever know. His latest effort, Big
Time, is mainly a collection of live pieces from Waits' last two
albums, Frank's Wild Years and Rain Dogs, with some songs
from Swordfishtrombones and other older albums.
The album truly catches the spirit of Waits' music. Listen
to "Train Song" on Big Time and darned if you aren't sitting
in a broken down '68 Ford Falcon parked next to an aban-
doned railroad yard somewhere near East St. Louis.
Everytime you think Waits has reached an emotional
plateau, with songs like "Falling Down," his gravelly voice Tom Waits
scrambles to a new summit. But Big Time isn't out to win any
tears. Waits means to entertain. Taking on the personalities and an occasions
of a Las Vegas lounge singer in "Straight to the Top," and an are deeply movi
evangelist in the terrific "Way Down the Hole," Waits is back alleys and t
thoroughly convincing. In "Clap Hands,'
Waits' rapport with his audience is unimaginably fresh The Fireman's b
and honest in this era of coliseum concerts. And though it's et and a sad du
sad for his fans that he doesn't perform more extensively in bottle full of rai
the United States, it's probably for this reason that he is so For the uninit
spontaneous and completely without pretension onstage. get used to Wait:
This good-natured attitude is captured nicely on Big Time. more gruff than t
His poetry is superb beyond description. Put to the music eccentric, truer-
of his tight band of horns, a pump organ, bongos, accordions are nothing less


al piercing guitar, the images he conjures up
ng. His musings on rain, New York City's
trainyards almost bring those scenes to life.
"Waits reads "Sane, sane, they're all insane /
lind, the conductor's lame / Cincinnati jack-
vck lame / Hanging out the window with a
n / Clap hands."
tiated, beware. It takes nearly two years to
s' voice, especially in concert, where it's even
the studio version. But it's a fair price. Waits'
-than-fiction, slice-of-life musical portraits
than genius.

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