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December 12, 1989 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 1989-12-12

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4

Page 12 - The Michigan Daily -Tuesday, December 12,1989

RECORDS
Continued from page 11
former features ex-Triumph guitar
master Rik Emmett with an acoustic
guitar solo that serves to accentuate
the integrity of the song, especially
as it fades into an electric solo that
flows without biting. This is a song
that deserves the attention to detail
afforded by extra production. The
same is true of "The Crossroads," a
song about lost love found asking
whether it's worth going through the
pain again. The lyrics are comple-
mented well by the music; over a
nice flowing rhythmic line, Mitchell
sings "If you come back to town,
I'll be standing at the crossroads, of
hell and heaven, of pain and plea-
sure." Keyboards are used to accentu-
ate the music, not dominate it, rely-
ing instead on the strength of the
words to propel the song.
The rest of the songs on the al-
bum are for the most part good
songs, but you would figure that
with three years to work on an al-
bum, they could create magic. The
title track "Rocklandwonderland" has
its moments, but the lyrics are thin.
Maybe it is just hard to write a song
about an outdoor amphitheatre?
"Moodstreet" is also lyrically weak,
banally discussing how you lose
;yourself in thought while driving.
:What saves this song is the music,
revolving around a flowing bass line
that drives the song, and the back up
vocals delivered by bass player Peter
Fredette, who simply has a great
singing voice. His is the distinctive
-high end in contrast to Mitchell's
relatively stable mid-range, and helps
the overall quality of the album.
The low point of the album
,comes in the first single, "Rock N
Roll Duty." This is for the most

part an attempt to pacify his fans
from the Max Webster days who
would rather hear him singing about
drinking beer than about his own in-
trospection. The song is acceptable
for a while, but then the clich6s hit
you, and you're reaching for the skip
button on the disc player.
Rockland sounds like an album
that took three years to complete.
The production is impeccable. But
some of the songs sound as though
they were written the same day as
recording, though they lack the spark
of spontaneity. You would expect
more depth after three years'
thought, but hey, this is Kim
Mitchell.
-Tom Robinson
Indigo Girls
Strange Fire
Epic
More of the same, more of the
same, and yes, even more of the
same, but when the artist is Indigo
Girls, more of the same is more than
welcome. With their second album,
Strange Fire, Emily Saliers and
Amy Ray establish themselves
among other newcomers such as
Tracy Chapman, Suzanne Vega, and
Melissa Ethridge, through the re-
merging presence of acoustic guitar
and attention to lyric that have re-
cently popularized folk music.
Strange Fire, which consists of

previously released material from the
past few years, accomplishes the
simple, raw, untouched feel of a live
performance. "Make it Easier" and
the title cut from this, their second
album, continue to follow in Indigo
Girls' traditional style, featuring
harmonies the likes of which haven't
been heard since Simon left Gar-
funkel. The Athens, GA natives also
add their own touch to the classic
Youngbloods' tune "Get Together"
(as in "Come on people now/ Smile
on your brother/ Everybody get to-
gether/ Try to love one another right
now..." Yeah, that one). Here the
duo recalls the beautiful rhythms and
harmonies that characterized the '60s
with a powerful a cappella segment
that stays with the listener through-
out the album. With "Walk Away"
and "Left Me a Fool," the band's
simple, understated approach authen-
ticates the painful memories of lost
love and broken promises. "Hey Je-
sus," the most powerful song on the
album, deals with a woman and her
thoughts of a past relationship as
well as reflections on her own life,
and is reminiscent of George Harri-
son's "My Sweet Lord" in its
painful realizations, yet optimistic
resolve. Strange Fire shows the
versatility and emotion achieved
through simple guitar chords and
powerful lyrics that guarantee Indigo
Girls' future success.
-Scott Kirkwood

Rock instead of rockets
PAGANEL brings popular music to Soviet Union

BY ROBERT C. CASAD
FROM a tiny office in Moscow State University, the
gargantuan Stalin-Gothic temple of socialist academics,
a student group called PAGANEL is quietly working to
unite the cultural underground of East and West.
Named for the undauntable, enlightened scientist-
hero of Jules Verne's The Children of Captain Grant,
PAGANEL exists officially as a student cultural organi-
zation affiliated with COMSOMOL, the student com-
munist party organization.
"In the beginning (during the Brezhnev era), PA-
GANEL was only a student entertainment club," said
Co-Founder Felix Starovoytov. "Now we are indepen-
dent of the ideological organization of COMSOMOL,
able to exist under new conditions with new principles
of business-like economic accountability and self-fi-
nancing, able to pay wages, make loans and raise
money to finance our projects."
Cultural Programs Director Azamat Iseboyev has-
tened to add that PAGANEL is deliberately apolitical.
"We have socialists and capitalists," said Iseboyev, the
versatile lead guitarist of a popular local band. "We are
committed only to pluralism."
Despite the limitations of revenues in rubles, a so-
called "inconvertible" currency, PAGANEL is able to
provide food, lodgings, transportation, publicity, per-
formance space, and modest cultural amenities for artists
from abroad who visit the Soviet Union. Achieving re-
ciprocal arrangements for Soviet artists is the goal of
"Surface to Surface," a proposed independent cultural
exchange initiative.
"Surface to Surface" focuses on rock music events, a
vast and largely untapped market in the Eastern bloc as
well as a forum for what Iseboyev calls "the interna-
tional language of youth." PAGANEL sponsored a pro-
totype tour of the Soviet underground by rock bands
from Finland, Denmark, and Iceland in September of
this year. Advance work is underway now for a spring
tour by a returning Irish group, and PAGANEL hopes
this will lead to contact with potential partners in the
"Surface to Surface" initiative.
Other cultural products are planned, although very
much on the drawing board, including records, posters,
and a monthly magazine called Free University based
on inputs from student affiliates around the world.
Organized under the auspices of the Moscow State
Geography Department, PAGANEL's interaction with
the European Organization of Young Geographers
helped solidify a vision of what Press Secretary Oleg
Pshenishny calls "new culture" struggling simultane-
ously to emerge from beneath Eastern and Western soci-
eties. The "Surface to Surface" initiative is intended to
contribute to the evolution of this new culture.

A

I

COL VIN
Continued from page 9
My favorite quote of hers draws
some light to the scope of her lyrics,
as she explains, "I'm drawn to the
expansiveness, the cruelty and the
beauty of the elements, it lets me

know there are bigger things than
my pain." It almost makes you feel
that Shawn Colvin will always be
on some street corner, singing this
story or that story, or the other.
SHAWN COLVIN plays tonight at
the Ark at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8.25,
$7.25 for members and students.

Ai

A tower at Moscow State University, headquarters for
PAGANEL, looms in the fog.
Joe Tiboni, WCBN DJ and former owner of the late
Joe's Star Lounge, is attempting to organize a benefit
performance for the "Surface to Surface" project.
Although the details are not yet settled, the hope is to
create seed money to finance an ongoing Ann Arbor area
affiliate of PAGANEL. It is also hoped that a Soviet
group can be brought to Ann Arbor to play at Earth
Day festivities in April, 1990.

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Season's Greetings

A

and Thank You for Making 1989
a Wonderful Year.

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