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December 11, 1989 - Image 13

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-12-11

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The Michigan Daily - Monday, December 11, 1989 - Page 13

Continued from page 12
Your Fire as indispensible time-cap-
sules of an anxious zeitgeist ; the
grand designs of Rush's newly sim-
plified song structures served to
sharpen the players' prodigious in-
strumental chops to a diamond accu-
racy of musical focus. But the icy,
digital rigidity of Fire's production
seemed to indicate the limit of how
far Rush could take that sound -
and the delicate beauty of "Time
Stand Still" may have proved too
feminine for even this group's loyal
following. Re-introducing acoustic
guitars and drums, Presto breathes a
bit more easily, even flexing a bit of
extravagant muscle.
As the sweet/sour opening cui
"Show Don't Tell" immediately de-
clares, the old riffs are back:
snarling tremolo guitar and rattling,
off-time snare-drum whacks bulldoze
ancient territory before segueing into
smoother passages, while the ob-
tuse, driving bass-chords of the eerie
"Chain Lightning" display Lee's
Rickenbacker dusted off and ready for
action. At Presto's worst, though,
the lumbering title cut is a knock-
kneed retread of musical and lyric
themes dating back to "Natural
Science" and "The Camera Eye."
Even drummer Neil Peart's lyrics of-
fer the didactic and obvious
("package the illusion of persona/
that's entertainment" complains the
star-maker critique of "Super-
conductor") where we once expected

bracing insights, like the mystic
global consciousness and urgent
sense of social responsibility
proposed by the last two records.
A mesmerizing, INXS-ible
foray into repetitive funk-style
rhythm, only the audacious "Scars"
displays the kind of renewed vision
which could have made Presto an
assertive statement. A strident pulse
of nervous bass and vocals, shim-
mering guitar overlays, and African
percussion, this track is the logical,
exciting extension of Hold Your
Fire's reductive "Force Ten." But
while "Hand Over Fist" starts out
with a similarly compelling, atmo-
spheric R&B groove, an unwelcome
intrusion of yapping electric guitar
disrupts its progress early on. It's a
problem which recurs throughout
eight of Presto's 12 tracks.
For every half-baked anachronism
- such as the overwrought "Red
Barchetta" guitar grind of "Super-
conductor" - every failed track also
contains bright musical gestures
squandered by clumsy transitions.
The gracious synth cascade of
"Anagram" and low spiralling piano
of "Red Tide" are nullified by ill-
matched textural changes; rarely do
verse, chorus, and bridge gel on
Presto, as the dated gristle mixes
with the liquid savvy of Lee's vo-
cal/melodic sense about as well as
crude oil and (holy) water.
Guitarist Alex Lifeson's talent
for thrilling emotional subtleties is
simply too unique to be wasted on
retro-Zep crotch riffs; on Presto's

better, coherent songs, Lifeson judi-
ciously fills in the spaces of Lee's
wide-screen melodic frames with his
patented brushstrokes and moody
jangling, while rhythmatist extraor-
dinaire Peart shapes the edges with
intelligent restraint. A stately, ach-
ing ballad, "The Pass" seems an
older and wiser lyrical update of
1980's "Tom Sawyer" ("Rebel with-
out a conscience/ Martyr without a
cause/ ...Christ, what have you
done?"), recalling the heart-swelling
sympathy of "Subdivisions." Pound-
ing at first with anthemic, U2-like
guitar chords, the graceful rocker
"War Paint" is at turns crystalline,
accusatory and intense, punctuated
by a typically distinctive Lifeson
solo. The closing "Available Light,"
weaving comtemplative piano and
gossamer vocal turns into an uplift-
ing finale of sublime guitar chords,
is the new Rush at their best, effus-
ing a poignant, yearning maturity
miles beyond the desire to impress.
Rush have made a career out of
never repeating themselves stylisti-
cally; one hopes that Presto's mid-
dle-age crisis is but a passing stage.
- Michael Paul Fischer
The Wonder Stuff
Polygram Records
A more appropriate title might be
The Wonder Stuff Get Serious or
The Wonder Stuff Get Influenced
by The Pogues. With Hup entering
the British charts at number six a
few weeks ago, it seems quite likely
that it will become more successful
than its predessor, The Eight Legged
Groove Machine. And taken alone,
it is a fine work, full of good songs
and inventive lyrics. It just dosn't
live up to the expectations set by
the first record.
The first obvious change is that

The Wonder Stuff belie their wide-eyed (or bug-eyed?) visages by their dark lyrics on their new release, Hup.
Actually, they look really sinister, don't you think?

the band has expanded its sound
from the straight guitar, bass, and
drums lineup. Hence, the Pogues
reference; banjo, mandolin, violin,
bongos, samples, organs, and the
kitchen sink make their respective
appearances on Hup. For the most
part, this is a good thing - it gives
the band a new dimension. But they
get a bit carried away at times;
"Golden Green" sounds like it could
have been rejected as the theme to
The Beverly IHillbillies.
The lyrics have grown darker and
more introspective. Instead of the
goofy irrelevance of "It's Yer Money
I'm After, Baby," we have lines like
"Congratulations on your death! it

was the greatest thing you gave to
me/ so generous and selflessly."
There's never a dull moment on the
record as singer Miles Hunt lashes
out at radio (on "Radio Ass Kiss"),
guys that domineer their girlfriends
("Cartoon boyfriend, when you
gonna rub yourself out?"), cynics
and even - gasp! - does some
self-examination on "Can't Shape
Although the songwriting has
grown more complex, the single
"Don't Let Me Down Gently" is
about the only tune that rivals the
first record in terms of sheer catchi-
ness. Indeed, you wish that one or
two of them had been saved for this

record. But no such luck. Neverthe-
less, the record does get better each
time you listen to it. It's not that
Hup isn't worth your time; on the
contrary, it's a great record by a
great band, just a little disappoint-
ing. The Wonder Stuff could have
done a little better.
-Mike Molior
UM News in
The Daily

Daily Artsis recruiting wrn rens,pol
of color, lesbians and gay men toj o
its staff: We especially needpe let
wite about music, dan ce, and ar
Call us at 763-0379
Student Accounts:
Your attention is called to the following rules passed by the Regents at their meeting on
February 28, 1936: "Students shall pay all accounts due the University not later than
the last day of classes of each semester or summer session. Student loans which are
not paid or renewed are subject to this regulation; however, student loans not yet due
are exempt. Any unpaid accounts at the close of business on the last day of classes will
be reported to the Cashier of the University and
(a) All academic credits will be withheld, the grades for the semester or
summer session just completed will not be released, and no transcript of
credits will be issued
(b) All students owing such accounts will not be allowed to register in any
subsequent semester or summer session until payment has been made."

Pizza, Subs and Salads
Eat-in or Carry Out
(11 a.m.-2 p.m.)
Corner of State and Hill




Our Gift Tins
and Mini/Boxes
Great Christmas Gifts!

715 N. University
Mrs. Peabody's wishes you
'V 7) (1 (1 A & I

Happy Holidays!

The Fraternity of Volkswagen.

: X f
; ,.

"Crunch" Faiella
'88 Fox

"Ben" Maxcy
'81 Rabbit

"Drew" Michaud
'79 Rabbit

Andrew Rob Berube Chuck Bizier Carl "Wick" Gartley
"Cappy" Pelletier '85 Quantum '82 Rabbit '84 Rabbit
'85 Golf

Introducing seven members of the Delta Tau Delta
Fraternity and their Volkswagens. We caught up
with these brothers-University of Maine chapter-
and snapped this photo before the snow came.
"Up here, winter is not a season to be taken
lightly" explained fraternity President Andrew

they're dependable. Especially when it's cold."
Brother Wick Gartley agreed, "I don't know how
you happened to pick our fraternity. Seems like
everyone up here drives a Volkswagen."
"I love my Vee Dub," offered Ben Maxcy. "I've
got 135,000 miles on it and it's still running great."

Where's this ad gonna run? Will girls see it?
At the Delta Tau Delta Fraternity in Orono,
Maine-even the cook drives a Volkswagen.
_It's time to think about



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