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April 22, 1992 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 1992-04-22

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d

ARTS
The Michigan Daily Wednesday, April 22, 1992 Page 10
Blur unfocuses its whole world

Senseless Things
The First of Too Many
Epic
As far as British bands along the
lines of Ned's Atomic Dustbin or
carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine
-o, Senseless Things is a fairly good
pop group. But is that actually say-
iPg much?
The First of Too Many is a fun
.0bum full of revved-up guitar tunes.
The lyrics are nothing worth ponder-
ing too deeply. Once again, we have
four rebellious Brits thinking they
can change the world. Excuse me
vhile I laugh.
The thing to keep in mind when
listening to this album is that you
can't take this sort of stuff too
seriously. Tracks such as "Best
Friend," and "Radio Spiteful," while
musically energetic and upbeat, are
illed with every clichd from a "How
tp Write Songs" manual.
To be fair, the album does have
,ome high points. The young Jessica
$orcoran does an admirable job in
the production department. You
won't hear any complaints about
door sound quality or presentation
on this record. But honestly, when
was the last time you loved an album
for production value alone,?
If the members of Senseless
Things realize they are meant to be
treated lightly, then all the more
power to British pop! However, the
scary (and maybe more accurate?)
thought is that the album title will
five true to its name.
- Nima Hodaei

Def Leppard
Adrenalize
Mercury
Finally! There, I got that off my
chest - now we can discuss Def
Leppard's new album, which is the
long-awaited follow-up to 1987's
Hysteria. It should be noted that the
absence was not due to laziness on
the band's part, but rather internal
problems - especially the death of
guitarist Steve Clark. Happily, Def
Lep has bounced back (but not too
quickly) with Adrenalize. And now
the burning question: Was it worth
the wait?
The album opens with the pound-
ing Def Lep anthem "Let's Get
Rocked," which has the same power
as Hysteria favorites like "Arma-
geddon It" and "Pour Some Sugar on
Me." Many of the songs on
Adrenalize share this distinct sound,
most notably "Make Love Like a
Man," "Tear it Down," and the
"Hysteria"-like "Stand Up (Kick
Love Into Motion)."
What gives the songs their sound
is their onslaught of guitars (quite
impressively handled by Phil Collen
alone) and the high energy choruses.
These choruses make even the
band's slower songs spirited and
forceful. With catchy tunes like
"Heaven Is" and "I Wanna Touch
U," Def Leppard once again takes
strong melodies reserved by other
bands for ballads, and combines
them with the raw energy of a rock
song.
See RECORDS, Page 13

by Annette Petruso
B ritain's New Musical Express
quotes Blur vocalist Damon Albarn
last September. "There's nothing
more up to date and relevant than us.
We're like the Jam, the Smiths, the
Stone Roses were in their place and
time."
Seven months later, Blur bassist
Alex James says that he believes that
this weighty statement is still true.
"Well, I just think we're the best
band ever, but that's probably be-
cause that's naturally what every-
body in a band thinks," he says. "It's
true. When I was in bands at school,
I thought they were the best bands
ever. You have to believe that. It's
one of the good things about being
in a band is that you think it's the
best band ever. Well, I've always
thought that any way."
The boys of Blur have an image
that complements such breezy arro-
gance. They are portrayed in the
British press as the kind of band that
has the time and attitude to make a
scene - instead of work.
James defends himself and his
band: "I don't think we're particu-
larly bratty really. We know what
we want, but we are not your classic
pop brat-type people. We're a bit
more civilized than that ... I think
we're quite sensitive people."
Sure, just check out what James
says inspires him: "Beaches, moun-
tains, coffee, cigarettes, being on a
bus all day, girls, cheese wine, stay-
ing up all night ...
"Drugs?," I interject.
"No, drugs are boring. Ponds,
American advertising, and things
that make me angry as well."
Even mention a Brit band, and
James has something nice to say.
Slowdive: "Lovely, lovely people ...
Just very English, quiet people."
Manic Street Preachers: "Well,
they're from Wales and they've got
big bottoms and crap songs. They're
going to be huge in Japan ... Nice
people, but ..."
My Bloody Valentine: "Lovely
people and fucking seminal music."
Blur does know how to have a
good time.
"There was a good riot in Bos-
ton," James explains with glee.
"They turned off the sound after four
songs And there's stage storming
and brawling. It was quite horrible
actually ... A couple of security
guards jumped on me, but a couple
of brave fans pulled them off and got
beaten to crap."
Members of the band may share a

(S

Blur is (clockwise from top) bassist Alex James, guitarist Graham Coxon, vocalist Damon Albarn (who's voice
sounds a helluva lot like the singer from the Dead Milkmen), and drummer Dave Rowentree.

confident narcissism about their
creation and their pleasures, but the
facts of Blur's story reveal less suc-
cess than James' self-confident man-
ner would indicate.
Blur's debut LP, Leisure, has a
classic pop quality, a '60s feel mixed
with '90s urgency and sensibility.
The timeless quality of Leisure lies
in its production and tight, clean ar-
rangement. The harmonica, harmo-
nies and tambourine further embel-
lish most every song.
Though Blur has carved its niche
away from Ned's Atomic Dustbin's
post-post-punk derivative nouveau
angst pop, the band remains firmly
rooted in its interpretations of a
modern sound. James shies away
from the '60s mood of Leisure.
He explains, "I think we are
moving away from that. We never
really wanted to sound sixties. Gra-
ham (Coxon, Blur's guitarist) listens
to a lot of sixties music ...
Essentially we want to do something
that's new, really. That's what's

important. We feel we've got
something to add. As soon as you
stop feeling that, you might as well
stop ..."
Their recent British single, "Pop
Scene," apparently sounds more ma-
ture, more like Blur really wants to
sound.
"It's a lot more like we're like
live," James says. "It didn't really
get on the radio at all but, um, it's
very aggressive. (A) loud, break-the-
law kind of record ...
"We just get bored with doing the
same thing. It's just a continually
evolving thing. All the best bands
change ... Because we've had a bit
of success with this, I suppose
there's a temptation to sort of
remake the same album."
The new single probably won't
be released here because of the time
problems that have plagued Blur's
assault on the USA. While Leisure,
specifically the Brit hit "There's No
Other Way," was released last year
in time to be a summertime smash in

Britain, the album wasn't released in
America until the fall.
The band only did minor promo-
tion of Leisure here in October, and
is now in the midst of its first proper
tour of the States. Touring in support
of Leisure at such a late date seems
weird.
"We've been so busy," James
explains. "We've been to Japan and
to France and Germany and touring
in England as well (on the Brit
equivalent of Lollapalooza, Roller-
coaster, with Jesus and Mary Chain,
Dinosaur Jr., and My Bloody Valen-
tine). It was just we got back as soon
as we can (sic). We are very
conscious that it has been out for a
while. But, um, we haven't had the
time."
Time will make or break Blur. Is
it on their side?
BLUR plays with the Senseless
Things Friday, May 1 at St. An-
drew's Hall in Detroit. Tickets are
$5.50 in advance. This is an all-ages
show so doors open at 7 p.m.

E

Like Peter Gabriel, U2 and now, R.E.M., Def Leppard is so brilliant that they
release a record only once every few years. But they're good records.
' NI ACEPINGMAPPLICAIO

Lm

ii

Channel Z
Family-based TV comes in two forms: half-hour sitcoms
(The Brady Bunch and their successors like Full House) and
hour dramas (Family, Eight is Enough). Which stand the test
of time better? Hour dramas of course, especially The Waltons
(7 p.m., Monday-Thursday, Family Channel). The family you
hated when you were little because your mom made you
watch it because it was almost as good for you as PBS, has
aged better than the cliched half-hour families on Brady
Bunch or Diff'rent Strokes (but could never be as hip as The
Partridge Family). It's sensitive too - a struggling family that
actually cares about each other. Besides, we could be in a
depression soon, so taste what your life could be like in a
couple of years.

E

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