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November 30, 1992 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1992-11-30

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Page 8-The Michigan Daily- Monday, November 30, 1992

A reign of tiger cats
and very few dogs

by Kim Yaged
"'No, she didn't,' Tucker yelped.
She said, 'Eat shit and die.'
'Shut up, Fuckface,' Mrs. Murphy
rumbled from the depths of the car-
ton, the tissue paper crinkling in a
manner most exciting to her ears.'"
Tee Tucker (Tucker for short) is a
Welsh Corgi, and Mrs. Murphy, the
featured character, is a gray tiger cat.
In "Restin Pieces," SneakyPie Brown,
a tiger catnative to Albemarle County,
Rest In Pieces
Rita Mae Brown
and Sneaky Pie Brown
Bantam Books
and her person, Rita Mae Brown, who
also currently resides in that area,
return us to the tumultuous town of
Crozet, Virginia which they intro-
duced in the first of the Mrs. Murphy
Mystery Series, "Wish You Were
Here." When murders aren't occur-
ring there Crozet doubles as a rela-
tively typical Southern town. Sneaky
Pie, incidentally, is an appellation that
surfaced a few novels back, in con-
junction with a boxing manager in
one of Rita Mae's solo efforts "South-
ern Discomfort."
As with "Bingo," Brown's sequel
to "Six Of One," "Rest In Pieces"
improves the original. It brings the
intricate descriptions of "Wish You
Were Here" off the page into realistic
personas. The subplots are more in-
teresting, even if it is always blatant
when one happens upon a clue. Per-
haps that's because the animals, of
the four-legged variety that is, tend to
be the ones to first discover them.
Still, there'sno contesting the Browns'
writing abilities. Even in the throes of
calamity, the characters are still ca-
pable of pulling off some of the most
laughable pieces of shtick one can
come across.
Along with the furrier friends re-
turn the humans (animals of the less
furry variety): Boom Boom Craycroft
- breasts bouncing boldly as ever,
the high-falootin' Sanburnes, Sheriff
Shaw and his sidekick Cynthia Coo-
per and, of course, Mary Minor
Haristeen, "the young postmistress"
who goes by the name "Harry" be-
cause she always wanted to be hairy
like her kitties but somehow the pro-

nunciation of the word never came
out right.
The most interesting evolution of
character is found in Miranda
Hogendobber, "a widow who thumps
her own Bible." Her transformation is
not as saucy in the encore perfor-
mance as the other leading domestics,
Murph and Tuck. This time around,
Hogendobber is less likely to "pitch a
fit and fall in it" from the sound of
even semi-blasphemous remarks or
to quote biblical text ad infinitum.
Instead, she's more inclined to throw
out colloquial epitaphs such as, "'The
Devil has sunk his deep claws into
someone, and forgive the old expres-
sion, but there will be hell to pay."'
She's even capable of making a dig at
the neighbors in good o1' girl fashion.
"' ... that dress must have cost her as
much as a Toyota. There isn't a bugle
bead left in Los Angeles, I am sure of
it. Why, if you dropped her in that
lake of hers she'd attract every fish in
it."'
Because of the harmlessly appeal-
ing nature of the characters and the
utterly domesticated routine of the
residents of Crozet, one is inclined to
accuse R.M. of going mainstream.
Rita Mae Brown, labeled a radical
feminist lesbian author in the seven-
ties because of the unconventional
subplots and characterizations in her
earlier works, has always been de-
scribed as a writer with a cause.
However, in "Rest In Pieces," she
replaces protesting women, such as in
"In Her Day," with a country woman
who can muck, ride and barrow. A
homeless man whose last glory was
screwing the high school QB, as in
"Rubyfruit Jungle," is superseded by
a beautiful male model who isn't
phased by someone yelling, "'Fuck
off, faggot,"' at him because not only
has he heard it so many times, but "the
gay men he knew were good people."
Still, the smartest animals in "Rest In
Pieces," including the human ones,
tend to be female.
RitaMae Brown hasn't abandoned
any cause; she's just wrapped her
message in different packaging in or-
der to appeal to other tastes. It really
isn't possible for Brown to "sell out."
She didn't claim to be working on
anyone's behalf. Besides, these days
Sneaky Pie seems to be doing most of
the talking.

Wax
What Else Can We Do
Caroline Records
Imagine a teen Fugazi with a sense
ofhumor, early Social Distortion with-
out the chip on their shoulder, maybe
an American Jam in their folks' base-
ment, sneaking cigarettes and listen-
ing to scratchy punk 45s. On their
debut disc, "What Else Can We Do,"
Wax set out to thrash you up with
their slam-bang, good-time boys club
garage rock, complete with a healthy
dose of snot on the side.
From the gleeful pop grunge of
disc-opener "Snappin' Away," Wax
pulls no punches and offers no apolo-
gies. Low on poser pretensions and
high on how-loud-can-we-play en-
ergy, "What Else Can We Do" sounds
like most of the '80's never happened.
Clash and burn guitars, three-part
harmonies, and hit-'em-hard-hit-'em-
quick rhythms power Wax' sound.
The stop-start hustle of "Hush,"
and the stormy mosh of "Continua-
tion" are two faves. Also check
"Home," and try to keep up.
Lotsa thrills, no frills straight-up
rock stuff. Dig that.
- Scott Sterling
Shelleyan Orphan
Humroot
Rough Trade / Columbia
Last seen three years ago mysteri-
ously opening for The Cure, 4AD

wannabes Shelleyan Orphan have fi-
nally returned with a third album that
can be categorized under "pop." Until
now, the duo consisting of Caroline
Crawley and Jemaur Tayle seemed to
have suspiciously classical ambitions.
Their first album, "Helleborine," was
"composed, directed and arranged"
by Crawley and Tayle, along with a
small orchestral ensemble. And any
band that refers to Percy Bysshe
Shelley in its very name might be
taking itself a bit too seriously.
"Humroot" takes the appealing
pastoral sound of their previous work
and combines it with a refreshingly
pop approach. The string quartets and
flutes are still here, along with
Crawley's lovely voice (a voice which
also dominated the final This Mortal
Coil album). But on the whole, the
tunes are catchier and more acces-
sible, without the pretensions to sig-
nificance. For some bands, "selling
out" can be a good thing.
- Michael John Wilson
Sproton Layer
With Magnetic Fields Disrupted
New Alliance
God, I love it when lost chapters
like this bob up from the murky an-
nals of underground rock. Not only is
this an amazing, restored, substantial
footnote in the history of '68-'74
Detroit energy rock, but it's also a
prologue to one of the important ca-
reers in modern rock - that being

Roger Miller's.
Sproton Layer was a freak trio
from Ann Arbor in the very late '60s,
the three adventurous Miller Brothers
(father Robert is a University ichthy-
ologist!). Roger is the most famous,
being a member of the seminal Mis-
sion of Burma. The other two held
their own, too, in the post-Stooges
nascent MI punk scene.
Besides beautifully reflecting the
best progressive rock of their time,
Sproton Layer was pretty premoni-
tory, too, particularly with Ben
Miller's Televisonary guitar on songs
like "Pretty Pictures, Now." That any-
one you hadn't really heard of was
making music like this in their time is
amazing. Add to that that these were
Ann Arbor High School kids, and
then start listening some more and
asking questions. Lots of questions.
A reunion would be even sweeter
than the photo of young Roger with
stellar sideburns, too ...
- Greg Baise
Miki Howard
Femme Fatale
Giant
The eighth song on Miki Howard's
latest release, "FemmeFatale," is titled
"Release Me." After listening to al-
most 53 minutes of this put-me-to-
sleep soul, that is exactly how I felt. I
needed to be released not only from
the typical love song lyrics, but also
from the ultra-monotonous musical
accompaniment.

The album consists of 11 songs,
each with its own writer, producer,
and publisher. Unfortunately, even
with such varied talent as David Fos-
ter and LeMel Humes working on the
album, it continues to possess the
same flaccid tone throughout.
* Miki Howard's voice is the one
crucial aspect of the album that de-
serves some~praise. Her talent can be
seen in songs such as "Shining
Through" and "Good Morning Heart-
ache" in which her deep, smooth voice
hits both high and low notes with a
perfect edge. Howard pushes her vo-
cal chords to the limit to give life to
songs that aren't even breathing. How-
ever, in the future, to be more success-
ful, she needs to work with songs that
possess an increased mix of key-
boards, drums, guitars, and saxo-
phones.
Another positive aspect of the al-
bum is the picture of the pretty, mist-
covered, white flower found on the
CD. However, unless you're really
into CD art, I would wait for Miki
Howard to start working with more
innovative music before you buy her
stuff. And who knows - maybe her
next album will have an even nicer
picture.
-Nidhi Agrawal
Underground Lovers
leaves me blind
4AD/Guernnica
Yup, another 4AD band, right
down to the mind warp graphics and
lower case title. But don't judge a
book by its mildly pretentious cover.
This 11-track collection of velvety,
atmospheric guitar buzz is the trippiest
to come from Down Under since the
Church's "Heyday."
No fey U.K. shoetop pop here -
The UndergroundLovers noise works
are propelled by scrappy guitars and
crashing Mo Tucker rhythms that
leaves.those tired, blurry Brits in the
dust.
"leaves me blind" is quite moody
and ethereal, butnevergoes all weight-
less and flies away. The washy jangle
of tracks like "Promenade," and the
sprawling epic "Your Eyes" dare to
rock out unashamedly. There's the
sultry dub of "Ladies Choice," while
female vocalist Philippa Nihill steps
to the mic on the mantras "I Was
Right" and "Holiday."
This disc is one hypnotizing, tex-
tured head trip after another. Daz-
zling.
- Scott Sterling

A

suppose these members of Wax are getting toffee and 7-Up kick backs?

I

WRITE FOR THEATER TCALL CR/N

BODYGUARD
Continued from page 5

AT THE POWER CENTER, ANN ARBOR
Hear ye, hear ye, all good people of the town! A masterful theatrical production of
JTjiIV YT7PVoT'tI7VF t.I S

fine performance as the kind of per-
son you want your kids to be when
they grow up. Whitney Houston's
acting is the biggest and only surprise
here. She can more than hold her own
when on screen with Costnerand that's
no small feat with the dialogue she's
got to work with. Although playing a
singer is no stretch for Houston, hope-

fully her performance will shine
through the myriad of boring se-
quences.
This film has more false endings
then an episode of the Love Boat.
Maybe 15 yearsago, when "TheBody-
guard" was written it would have made
a good movie. Today, however, the
film is more of a made-for-TV movie
than anything else. Staring Susan
Lucci and Robert Urich it probably
wouldhave gotten high ratings. Maybe
even a series.

But the film is going to make mil-
lions. Too bad, although it will aid in
speeding up the minting of the Kevin
Costner Dollar Coins. Thank Clint
Eastwood that Costner is finally go-
ing to play abad guy next time. Maybe
if Costner had directed - nah, noth-
ing but leaving this on the shelf could
have saved this film. What were the
previews for ag... zzzzz.
THE BODYGUARD is playing at
Briarwood and Showcase.

0

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R ES E RV E OFFICERS' T R A I N I N G CORPS
t
GET MONEY FROM YOUR UNCLE INST!EAD.
Your Uncle Sam. Every year Army ROTC even pay a flat rate for textbooks and sup-
awards scholarships to hundreds of talented plies. You can also receive an allowance of
students. If you qualify, these merit- a up to $1000 each school year the

0
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