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March 18, 1992 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1992-03-18

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ARTS
-iWednesday, March 18,1992 Page 5
Life in an ethereal world
Lshdoesmorethanjust listento My Bloody Valentine

by Scott Sterling
M y Bloody Valentine, along with
a legion of crafty music journalists,
have created a whole new genre of
music. Blissrock, wash, dreampop,
wombadelica - call it what you
will - the new wave of guitar-
based British bands that juxtapose
the atonal, six-string noise sensibili-
ties of Sonic Youth, with the ethe-
real, 4AD ambiance of the Cocteau
Twins, have made the guitar "cool"
again.
The names should be more than
familiar - Ride, Chapterhouse,
Curve, Swervedriver. These mop-
topped, striped T-shirted, dirty-faced
angels have become so abundant it
takes a scorecard to keep up with
them all. Direct descendants of My
Bloody Valentine's ground-breaking
1988 release, Isn't Anything, these
bands have been bestowed with the
dubious tag of "shoegazers," since
that seemed to be their primary on-
stage activity.
What sets Lush apart from the
test of their blissed-out cohorts is
that at the end of the day, they're ul-
timately a POP band. As in beauti-
ful, glittering, three-and-a-half-
minute slices of delicious ecstasy.
As in the Beach Boys being covered
by the Jesus and Mary Chain. When
pressed to describe Lush's sound,
guitarist and songwriter Emma An-
derson has no easy answer.
"Yeah, we're poppy, guitary, but
a bit different," she says. "There's
something more interesting going on
underneath than a lot of people. Oh,
I don't know. That's the worst ques-
tion.".

a reputation to live down.
Anderson explains, "In Britain,
there's so many different images of
Lush. There's one that all we do is
go out, get drunk, and we don't do
any work. The other is that we're
middle-class, and we sit in our bed-
rooms listening to My Bloody Va-
lentine. It's just all these extreme
things, but none of them are right.
That's the nature of the music press
over there."
If it seems that My Bloody Va-
lentine is being mentioned quite a
'Who reads Vox
anyway? No one talks
about the loads of
good reviews we've
gotten, or the fact that
the fans like it.'
-Emma Anderson
Guitarist/Songwriter
bit, there's a reason. Like it or not,
it's impossible to talk about any of
the "shoegazers" without mentioning
the Thomas Edisons of guitar wash,
much to the chagrin of Anderson.
"At the moment, everyone com-
pares us to MBV; and in Britain
they're like gods. You cannot say a
word against MBV, and we're just
trying to copy them, and that's just a
load of rubbish," she fumes.
And as for the other bands
they're constantly compared to ...
"Winger, Warrant, Slaughter,
yeah, we get that all the time."
Lush's answer to all of this scru-
tiny is their first full-length album,
Spooky, which, due to the current
overexposure of blissful guitar pop
in Britain, has faced mixed reactions.
"The record got slagged off in

one magazine (British publication
Vox) and people are calling it a criti-
cal disappointment. I mean, who
reads Vox anyway? No one talks
about the loads of good reviews
we've gotten, or the fact that the fans
like it. We're quite happy with it,
and that's what really matters,"
counters Anderson.
Spooky reflects a new twist for
Lush, namely "For Love" and "Un-
together," two songs that sport a
more straight-ahead, less washy
style of songwriting.
"Miki wrote those, and it's
strange, cause Miki used to write the
thrashier, noisy songs when we first
started ... I don't know why she
changed her style. They are very
simple, the tune, the melody, and the
lyrics are obvious as well."
Many of those "obvious" lyrics
on the record are vicious, biting
tirades that often betray the dreami-
ness of the music. A slew of per-
sonal crises prompted the anger in
the words.
"We had a bit of a rough time of
it last year, yeah," Anderson ex-
plains. "Miki's tend to be the angri-
est. Like 'Tiny Smiles,' that was
something that happened to her,
something traumatic, that she
wouldn't want me to elaborate on.
Mine tend to be a bit more intro-
verted."
Another new factor in the Lush
equation is the addition of new bas-
sist Phil King, replacing one of the
founding members, Steve Rippon.
"He's making quite a lot of dif-
ference. Our live shows have been a
lot tighter. I don't want to slag Steve
off, but he wasn't really into playing
the bass that much, it wasn't really
what he wanted to do. Phil's given
us a sort of shot in the arm. He's
much more confident, a better bass

Phil King (far left) plays it cool, but drummer Chris Acland (far right) is having a harder time hiding his obvious glee
at being in a band with two of the most gorgeous women on earth, Miki Berenyi (left) and Emma Anderson.

player, actually," Anderson says.
Fresh from a successful British
tour ("The best UK tour we've ever
done," Anderson says), Lush is set to
embark on their first headlining tour
of America. With Spooky poised on
the top of the "alternative" music
charts, 1992 could prove to be quite
luscious for the winsome auartet.

So, with America's alternateens
strewn at their feet like so many
roses, I wonder if Anderson has any
parting words before Lush is cata-
pulted into the world of 120 Minutes
deities,
"Well, I'd like to know who left
me that lovely bouquet of roses at
our last gig in London so I can thank

them," she says with a laugh, "And
tell everyone that we don't sit in our
bedrooms listening to My Bloody
Valentine all day.
LUSH will be appearing at St. An-
drews Hall tonight (18 and over)
with BABES IN TOYLAND opening.
Tickets are $7.50 (p.e.s.c.) at Ti-
cketMaster. Doors oven at 9 v.m.

Media darlings even before re-
leasing their debut EP Scar, Lush
has had more than its share of
expectations to live up to, as well as
Haas and
e

Alan & Naomi
dir. Sterling Vanwagenen

id

by Marie Jacobson

The year is 1944. Although the war
rages across the ocean, life in
Brooklyn remains relatively un-
changed for 14-year-old Alan Silver-
man (Lukas Haas). His mind is filled
with thoughts of stickball and model
airplanes, and only when his father
angrily traces Hitler's advances on
the large-scale map in their living
room does he confront the reality of
war.
Then everything changes. Alan's
parents (Michael Gross and Amy'
Aquino) urge him to befriend the
new Jewish girl upstairs. They qui-
etly explain that young Naomi Kir-
schenbaum (Vanessa Zaoui) fled to
Haas rises to the
occasion in a
performance that is
deeply moving without
dripping of
sentimental drivel.
America with her mother after her
father, a French resistance fighter,
was tortured by the Nazis. Naomi
watched his death in horror.
Reluctantly, Alan agrees to visit
his new neighbor. His self-conscious
conversation does little to stop
Naomi from staring into space and
methodically shredding piles of
newspaper. Thoroughly shaken,
Alan vows never to go back.
But he does return, with his red-
headed dummy Wrangler Jack.
Through Jack, Alan talks to Naomi's
doll, Yvette. As Naomi slowly real-

Shakespear's Sister
Hormonally Yours
London Records
With Hormonally Yours, this
British duo almost pulls off the
sleeper of the year. Equal parts
Minneapolis funk, '70s glam, and
quirky pop, Shakespear's Sister
comes up a few bucks short of being
England's answer to Wendy and
Lisa. But eventually the ideas run a
little thin, so it's the undeniable
charm of Marcella Detroit and
Siobahn Fahey (ex-Bananarama)
that eventually save the day.
Hormonally Yours kicks off with
the bewitching "'Goodbye Cruel
World," one of the finest pop singles
to come across the ocean in many
moons. This song showcases both
Fahey' s otherworldly wail and De-
troit's earthy growl.
Their enchanting voices glide
effortlessly over glassy pianos and a
deep, throbbing bassline. A nifty
backwards guitar solo and the far too
catchy "Ooh la la la" chorus round
out this amazing four minutes.
"My 16th Apology" is also a
spine-tingler. This breathless ray of
acoustic guitars, gorgeous harmo-
nies, and majestic strings come
together to create a female "Rasp-
berry Beret." If this one isn't on your
summer mix tape, you don't know
what you're missing.
Unfortunately, this is where hor-
mones seem to get the best of Shake-

spear's Sister. Given their ability to
fashion such ear-pleasing melodies,
it's disappointing when they resort

the bland, pseudo-rocker, "Catwo-
man."
They do manage to pull a few
more winners from their sleeves, like
the rapturous ballad, "Moonchild;"
and the way sexy "The Trouble With
Andre."
Hormonally Yours is close, but
doesn't quite stick around for the
cigar. Still, this glam-laden duo is far
from their best work. Stay tuned.
-Scott Sterling
Rudolph Grey
Mask of Light
New Alliance
Errii-rip-schronk! Guitarist Ru-
dolph Grey rips a new hole into the
noise destructo-jazz world. Warning:
this New York composer's brand of
sonic disruption is not for the timo-
rous or faint of heart. Recorded lie
during the "Musique Action '90"
festival in Vendoeurre, France (since
only Europeans seem to appreciate
American creativity),Mask of Light
provides an unaltered, immediate
See RECORDS, Page 8

Shakespear's Sister
to filler like "Black Sky," a
forgettable dip into the dried-up
pond of Manchester bagginess, or

Alan (Lucas Haas) consoles his new fast friend Naomi (Vanessa Zaoui)

izes that she can trust Alan, the two
become virtually inseparable. Event-
ually, Naomi even returns to school.
But just when the struggle seems to
be over, Naomi's catatonia returns,
and Alan must find the strength to
help his friend once again.
Haas has come along way from
the little Amish boy he portrayed in
Witness. While he retains his endear-
ing innocence in Alan & Naomi, the
role of Alan demands a careful bal-
ance between the wisdom of an adult
and the heart of a child. Haas rises to
the occasion in a performance that is
deeply moving without dripping of
sentimental drivel.
Once in a while, however, Haas
forgets his voice-coached Brooklyn
accent. And at times, we question
Alan's maturity - but this is a
shortcoming on the part of the
screenwriter, not the actor.
His French co-star Zaoui endows
her delicate, waif-like character with
a quiet courage and joie de vie.
When she relates her nightmarish
flashbacks to Alan, she engulfs her
audience with unfathomable horror.
And Zaoui's shaky command of

English and her French accent con-
tribute to the believability of her
character.
The rest of the cast deserves ku-
dos as well. Although the film has
"aged" him considerably, Gross still
conjures up visions of Steven Kea-
ton in Family Ties. Gross' character
is mellow and witty, tossing in bit of
See ALAN, Page 8

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