Page 14- The Michigan Daily -Wednesday, April 25, 1990
Continued from page 13
hooks. Part of the problem is the
band's reluctance to add much orna-
mentation to the mix; a batch sparse
of mid-tempo synth bass/drum songs
can only be so interesting when all
taken at once.
Ironically enough, when producer
Flood does convince the band to
clutter things up a bit, the best song
results. "Lightning Man," with its
sampled clarinet and horn section (of
all things), may well be the best
song that Nitzer Ebb has yet done.
The ominous chanting of "Baby,
Come To Daddy" offsets the cheerful
clarinet and produces one of the best
dance beats in quite some time. The
horn parts add a bit of color to a too-
often black-and-white sound.
Not that the band always needs
the extra baggage. Songs like
"Getting Closer" and "Fun to be
Had" do just fine with the minimum
ingredients. But the band would have
done well to consider expanding the
mix more than it did, especially on
the less kinetic songs. All in all,
Showtime has some really good
songs and even more boring songs.
While it's not a bad effort, it pales
in comparison to earlier efforts such
as That Total Age. But what the hell
- "Lightning Man" still rocks.
Around the Horn
OK, I'm so fucking sick of lame
bands on decent labels (or labels that
I always assumed were decent) that
claim this Broad American-ness with
their fake accents and godawful bor-
ing music. I tried to patiently listen
to this album. Very patiently -
waiting for some glimmer of hope
that they would suprise me and do
something besides wail and play the
same notes throughout each song.
Not to generalize about Bands
from Chicago but where in the fuck
does the vocalist get his intonation?
On songs like "Around the Horn,"
"Second of All" and "Old House," he
mumbles in an annoyingly plaintive
voice over all these noises played
simultaneously. He sounds like
some cartoon character wailing "Oh
give me a home/ where the buffalo
roam...." His vocals also remind me
of Stipe's whiny, drunken covers on
R.E.M's Dead Letter Office. It was
amusing to some degree for R.E.M.
to do it for two songs as funny
filler, but as for a whole album -
blah, blah blah! The sum of the mu-
sic and that voice comes off as so
jumbled that it makes absolutely no
sense and is damn near impossible to
enjoy. Eveything on this record, like
on their last album Flubber, moves
as slowly and lasts as long as mo-
lasses on a hot day. One has to be
comotose to appreciate it.
The lyrics also suffer from their
vast desire to be American and sing
about what traditional Americans
sing about: love, especially in the
context of someone dumping you.
For example, in "Rise Above It,"
vocalist Joe Adducci drags "My
sweetheart's gone and left me" and
"I'm left alone in sadness/ Don't
know what to do." A small bit of
advice for him: don't write stupid
songs and then actually put them on
an album. Of course this actually
doesn't matter that much because he
is impossible to understand most of
My major question is "Is this
supposed to be a parody?" Is there
something I am not getting? People
can only stand to listen to the same
riff for so long. The number of lay-
ers and kinds of instruments they use
are rather impressive, but exces-
sively dull music that never really
goes anywhere cannot be that great.
If this is supposed to be traditional
music, influenced by the swamps of
Louisiana, blues, folk, hillbilly,
rock and Dylan, or a damn boring
imitation thereof, then yuck - I
know it does not have to be this
Salt Lick EP
Sub Pop Records
When you talk Sub Pop staying
power, you're talking Tad (say it
like you mean it, sucker!), not
Mudhoney, who seem to have, by
the recent lack of Seattle-style
hype, muffed themselves into a
somewhat fuzzy obscurity. Tad's
extra-large lads burn, and if you
don't know it yet you're either liv-
ing in the past or too damn scared
to face the truth head-on.
This generous helping of a six-
song strikes off guard like a Der-
ringer with the power of a 12-
gauge, baring your guts like they
do theirs with a spread pattern that
would scare even the most devoted
of hunters. Growling, stinking, and
pounding, Salt Lick'll burn the
pounds off ya like the workout it
is- watch Doyle's imminent slim-
down - and send ya to the lick
block to replenish those valuable
bodily fluids. And it sounds a hell
of a lot better than Gatorade.
This, Tad's second stab at 12-
inch heroics, stomps its monster
boot and shakes the dog-shit off its
sole. Longer songs than the first,
and a hell of a lot better than that
transitional shit on "Loser." Some
of these hair-pulling, head-butting
droners hit up to three-and-a-half
minutes, more debauchery for the
dollar. "Axe to Grind," "Wood
Goblins" (a video for which has
been rejected by MTV due to Tad
Doyle's Meatloaf-ish heft and un-
Bono-esque looks), and "Potlatch"
kick it out like a cat caught in a
clothes dryer, paling their prior
greats - "Behemoth," "Sex God
Missy" - in comparison. Big gui-
tars and an ear for adrenalin-pump-
ing riffs do add up to good music.
If you missed the recent show
don't punish yourself a second
time. No salt in the wound here.
Tough luck if ya did, bub, clam up
and buy the EP. The CD has cuts
from the first album, "God's
Balls," and the "Loser" seven-inch,
a better buy than some of this
cheap-ass, CD single shit, and
you'll feel better about yourself in
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