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March 01, 1993 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-03-01

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ARTS

Th icianDilyIMnda.Mach ,,9 Pg

Hail Raimi 's conquering "Army"

by Michael Thompson
The idea is simple. So simple that people might
not get it on the first viewing. "Army of Darkness"
is notjust acomedy and notjusta horror movie. This
film, like most other Raimi movies, is in a class by
itself. Sort of like if someone were to released "The
LM REVIEWI

Army of Darkness
written by Sam and Ivan Raimi;
directed by Sam Raimi;
with Bruce Campbell and Embeth Davidtz

(featuring a killer cameo from Bridget Fonda). Most
of the film is set on high speed, wasting no time on
things like characterization or serious plot develop-
ment (running contrary to the popular belief these
things are best left out). Raimi's story is so ridiculous
thatit would be insulting to the audience and even his
characters ifhe tried to make anyone believe that any
of this was really happening.
The result is pure fun. There really aren't too
many movies where you can sit back and laugh at a
corpse. This film, however, lets you laugh at over a
hundred dead, decaying bodies marching to the beat
of a different drummer.
The special effects dominate the film, but hey,
this is a movie about dead people. The Raimis have
let their imaginations run wild with this movie
because they wer given more money to do it with.
Hundreds of skeletons, lots of explosions, and the
modifications on Ash's car are unquestionably tech-
nological breakthroughs.
Bruce Campbell's performance as Ash is as
convincing as ever. Ash is sort of an every-Stooge.
He has the anger of Moe when he fights, the plain-
ness of Larry when he talks and the stupidity of
Curley that got him into this mess. And if you think

I'm leaving out Shemp, watch the ending credits.
Campbell delivers one liners with as much authority
as Sylvester Stallone. And as a romantic lead,
Campbell's got Sly beat.
The only other real star of the movie is Campbell
himself. He also plays Evil Ash, the badguy trying to
steal Ash's only way back home. As Evil Ash,
Campbell goes camp crazy, shooting off one-liners
left and right. Sometimes they're funny and other
times they're silly, but it's hardly ever boring. Some
of Evil Ash's one-liners will be funnier to those who
have seen the other films, but don't worry, you'll
only be missing one out of the twenty jokes per
second.
Embeth Davidtz does a good job as the damsel in
distress. It's her role, however, that drags the film a
little. She is so underdeveloped that she almost
becomes useless. But in the end it really doesn't
matter. Raimi of course has a brief cameo as does his
brother, Ted.
"Army of Darkness" is no "Evil Dead 2," but it
is a step above Raimi's "Darkman." Of course there
is always the possibility of a sequel which in this rare
case is a good thing.
ARMY OF DARKNESS is playing at Showcase.

Three Stooges awake at the Dawn of the Dead."
Our hero, Ash, goes on a trip one weekend to a
secluded cabin and has areally bad night. Before it's
over he has been transported back in time to the 13th
century. Oh, yeah, he lost his right hand also. Ash
wants to go home, but new problems arrive and Ash
has to fight the Evil Dead again.
Although this is the third in the Evil Dead series,
you don' thave to know anything about the other two
films to understand this one. Michigan born director
Sam Raimi sums up the contents of them in a quick
five minute montage at the beginning of the film

A member of the audience watching Sam Raimi's "Army of Darkness."
Classic punk on "D.I.Y."

by Tom Erlewhine
Nothing was the same after 1977.
After that, rock & roll was forever
changed, cleaned of all the dreck that
had been hanging around for the better
part of the decade.As the myth says, the
punks came out of nowhere and saved
rock & roll. And the myth is more true
than false. Punk wasn't the purely natu-
ral force some would like to believe, yet
it was purer than anything else on the
market. Punk in it's classic form, a two-
to-three minute blast of raging guitars
and vocals, died a quick death, suitable
to the intense life it lived. The music
itself spiraled into hard-core, a dull load
roar that endlessly recycles itself. More
importantly, hundreds of bands took the
do-it-yourself spirit of punk to heart.
Rock & roll as we know it would not
exist without the revolution of '77.
Lastmonth Rhino Records unveiled
'D.I.Y.," an ambitious nine-disc, 172-
song collection chronicling punk rock
and its aftermath. The final four vol-
unies reached stores February 16, com-
pleting what is certain to be the most
comprehensive collection of the punk
era. Every disc is beautifully packaged,
with informative liner notes, rare pic-
tures, and new artwork by several of
today's hippest artists. Project coordi-
nator Gary Stewart often used original
single versions instead of re-recorded.
album versions. While there are the
inevitable gaps (the Clash, Talking
Heads, and Elvis Costello aren't in-
cluded due tocontractual reasons), most
of the major artists of the time are rep-
resented.
Appropriately, the series begins with
the most infamous punk band, the Sex
Pistols. Instead of the familiar version
of "Anarchy in the UK" from "Never
Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pis-
tols," a demo version opens up "Anar-
chy in the UK: UK Punk I." After that
the momentum doesn't let up, with an
amazing string of classic singles run-
ning through "Anarchy" and the second
disc, "The Modern World: UK Punk
I." Unlike the hard-core bands that
followed, the original punk bands knew
the value of ahook; most of these songs
have riffs and melodies that are hard to
forget. The Sex Pistols, the Damned,
the Jam, Buzzcocks, Wire, the Adverts,
X-Ray Spex, Boomtown Rats, Stiff
Little Fingers, the Fall, Sham 69, and

the Soft Boys are all here, making these
two discs indispensable.
'"D.I.Y. shifts gears with the next
two discs ofthe series. The two volumes
ofUKPop,"TeenageKicks"and"Stany
Eyes," coverthe British new wave fairly
completely. The songs on the two discs
are classic, three-minute pop and rock
& roll singles with a penchant for clev-
erness, performed with energy and
verve. Singlesof thiskind were scarcely
made during the late '70s, and they still
sound exciting today. Both discs are
excellent, featuring familiar tracks by
XTC, Squeeze, Joe Jackson, and Nick
Lowe, but the real treasures are in rela-
tive obscurities like Wreckless Eric,
Eddie & the Hot Rods, Bram
Tchaikovsky, and the Revillos.
Beginning with the fifth disc,
"D.I.Y." moves to the states. "Blank
Generation: TheNew York Scene (1975-
1978)," contains the music that started
the entire punk revolution. Unlike Brit-
ish punk, American punk was a pure
reaction to the music of the time. Origi-
nally, American punk was concerned
with bringing rock back to it's roots -
three-chord rave-ups about girls, cars,
fun, and rock & roll. As time moved on,
the music became more refined, with
the minimalism of the Velvet Under-
ground and the Modern Lovers playing
a large role. There was too much music
in New York for everything to fit on one
volume, but "Blank Generation" is a
terrific attempt. Not only are the brutal
three-chord good times of the Ramones,
Dictators, and Mink Deville included,
but so are the more serious songs of

Sure, the band members of XTC aregrinning, all the way to the bank.

Television, Patti Smith, and Richard
Hell, plus such diverse acts as Blondie,
the Heartbreakers, Dead Boys, and Sui-
cide. Along with the two British punk
discs, this is absolutely necessary.
Although the sixth and ninth discs,
"We're Desperate: The LA Scene" and
"Mass. Ave.: The Boston Scene," aren't
as glorious as the first five, they are
hardly marginal. More than any of the
other discs, "We're Desperate" and
"Mass. Ave." paint complete pictures of
the scenes they are covering; since they
were smaller, all of the music can fit on
to one disc. Both discs contain some of
the rawest records of the series yet they
also contain some of the shallowest
music. Still, it's hard to go wrong with
X, the Germs, the Weirdos, the Dils, the
Plugz (all on the LA disc), Willie
Alexander, Nervous Eaters, Mission of
Burma, the Neighborhoods, Human
Sexual Response, Classic Ruins, and
the Lyres (all on the Boston disc).
In many ways the two American
power pop discs, "Come Out and Play"

and "Shake It Up!," are the most spe-
cialized and inaccessible of the series.
The audience for power pop's synthesis
of the prettiness of the Beatles and the
Beach Boys with the loud power chords
of the Kinks and the Who has always
been quite small - the music is too
lightweight for most alternative fans
and it too strange for mainstream tastes.
Yet there are many pleasures in these
two discs, from Cheap Tricks "South-
ern Girls" and the Flamin' Groovies'
"Shake Some Action" (on Vol. I) to the
Cryers' "Shake It Up (Ain't It Time?)
and the Romantics'"What I Like About
You" (on Vol. II). Anyone with any
interest in power pop will find much to
treasure on these two discs.
While "'D.I.Y.""functions as a per-
fect introduction to any punk and new
wave neophyte, experts won't be wast-
ing their money buying the series. An
estimated 75% of the tracks have never
appeared on CD before, and Stewart's
practice of using the original single
version also makes "'D.I.Y."more than
worthwhile for collectors. Just make
sure to buy the CDs, because each disc
contains four (usually essential) bonus
tracks that aren't available on the cas-
sette version.

Various Artists
Azagas & Archibogs
Original Music
Every once in a while, I stumble
across a rare recording which awes and
disturbs me. This humbling collection
of 1960'sNigerian high-life slapped me
with the realization of how little the
Western world actually knows about
African music. Most corporate labels
are too entrenched in regionalism, prim-
ing their consumers to be solely con-
cerned with the "latest" musical belches
of Americana. Although this CD pro-
vides a refreshing glance eastward, its
skeleton of hep, butnow-obscuredance-
bands can'thope to flesh out the genre's
once healthy figure. And yet, the music
is vivifying.
Each of the nine bands combine
local rhythms with diverse cultural in-
flections, jump-starting the mix with
swinging afro-jazz horn sections pio-
neered by 1950's dance bands, like E.T.
Mensah and Tempos.
The CD's title refers to the tongue-
in-cheek humor many 1960's Nigerian
dance-band leaders usedin naming their
ensembles. Catchy names like Charles
Iwegbue & His Archibogs and Prince
Kayosun Dosumu & His Dandies are
reminiscent of early American jazz
goofus (Red Nichols and His Five Pen-
nies, The Chocolate Dandies, The
Harlem Hot Chocolates and the like).
Since these recordings predate the
redirectional influences of rock 'n' roll,
guitars are mostly relegated to melodic
support, while some choice horn play-
ers step out to strut their goods. Of
course, the percussion solos in songs
like "Kuru-Kere" are infectious in their
daunting complexity, slapping the skins
of both Yoruban "talking drums" and
Western drum kits.

The linguistic diversity of the vocals
reveals the hodgepodge of influences,
ranging from spoken English introduc-
tions to Ibo and Bini lyrics. But unfortu-
nately, this unifying music was short
lived. With the outbreak of the Nigerian
civil war in 1967, the Ibo leaders; de-
clared their independence, leaving be-
hind Lagos and their Yoruban band-
mates. Juju quickly jumped into the
spotlight as the new Yoruban music of
choice. To my knowledge, these nine
hip-shakin' bands are the sole recorded
representatives of this history.
-Chris Wrod
Mother's Finest
Like A Negro
Scotti Bros.
I just don't get it. Just two listens to
the sly, riveting work putin by Mother's
guitaristJohn Hayes and vocalists Joyce
Kennedy and Glenn Murdock convince
me they should rule rock 'n' roll. Now.
In their fiercest jams "Like A Negro"
and "HeadBangin' and Booty Shakin',"
feral, spastic guitar lines work as the
corroded platter for Kennedy and
Murdock to serve up wild cries of revolt
against everything from censorship to
racist law enforcement officials.
A few unpredictable bass solos and
guitar frenzies break up the already
dissonant jams (that's describing them
nicely), bringing Mother's Finest closer
to the classic '70s funk than the '80s
rock that they themselves had a hand in
influencing. An often raw, uncompro-
mising mix keeps the noise very crude
and, somehow, purer in this age of digi-
tal codification heresy. This is rebel-
lious stuff for a time when the M in rock
music staples like MTV stand for none
other than money.
-Forrest Green II

The Undertones think they are just so cool now that they're on "D.I.Y."

Don't resort to this if you want
to leave town this summer...

MICHIGAN
STiUDENT
ASSEMBLY
WINTER '93 ELECTIONS
March 17& 18
POSITIONSAVAILABLE:
MSA President & Vice President
(Elected together as a slate)
MSA Representatives in:

Talavnt e

iOti
S
;y,'

of
SUMNMER
SUBLET
IDDI FMEN1

it '

Architecture
Art
Business
Engineering
Law

1 LSA
1 Medicine
2 Nursing
2 Pharmacy
1 Rackham

9
1
1
1
4

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