8 - The MichiganOeily - Tuesday, February 28, 1995
PJ Harvey brings you
her best album yet
By Heather Phares
Daily Arts Editor
While it's become a cliche to say
that PJ Harvey is one of the most aston-
ishing talents in music today, it's a
clich6 that has some truth to it. During
her brief career, Polly Jean Harvey has
reinvented her sound and style several
times and yet has remained true to her
Her 1992 debut, "Dry," combined
Harvey'sthrilling, versatile voiceand adept
You My Love
tic mix of blues, pop and punk was entirely
unique to the music scene; neither riot
grrrl, sultry siren orfolky waif, Harvey and
her music were both resolutely strong and
unafraid to be different.
Her follow-up, "Rid of Me," in-
cluded songs even more powerful than
those on her debut, but the production
by indie noise-guru Steve Albini often
obscured her voice and playing with
thick slabs of distortion. Instead of be-
ing the break-out album that would get
Harvey a wider audience, "Rid of Me"
was so intense and claustrophobic that
its commercial appeal was negligible.
Indeed, even Harvey seemed dissatis-
fied with the harshness of that album, and
released the "4-Track Demos" from "Rid
of Me" in November 1993. The demos
revealed the subtleties in hersinging, play-
ing and writing that were buried on the
finished album, and pointed to the kind of
music Harvey might make in the future.
Now, "To Bring You My Love"
emerges as PJ Harvey's finest work to
date. Like all true artists, Harvey reinvents
and refreshes hercraft; far fromarehash of
herpastaccomplishments, hernew album
incorporates what made her previous al-
bums work and adds entirely new dimen-
sions to her work.
These new dimensions include using
the prestigious producer Flood, who's
worked with such artists as U2, Depeche
Mode and Nine Inch Nails. 'To Bring
You My Love"'s production never inter-
feres with the songs on the record. Indeed,
it expands Harvey's repertoire.
The full, rich sound of "Teclo"
(about a departed lover) and the eerie,
menacing sheen of "Down By The
Water" simply would not have been
possible on her previous albums. But
the parched, insular sound on the title
track and the fiery, abrasive rasp of
"Long Snake Moan" show a masterful
grasp of a sonic palette that doesn't
paint Flood or Harvey into any corners.
Variety is the constant of "To Bring
You My Love." The instrumentation of
the album, as well as its production, sets
it apart from her previous work (not to
mention the majority of music being
made today). Spaghetti-western guitars
pepper the title track, drums that sound
like immense hydraulic pistons pump
out the rhythm of "Meet Ze Monsta,"
and keyboards enhance many of the
tracks on "To Bring You My Love," at
times delicately (as on "Teclo"), at times
powerfully (like the unnerving buzz on
"Down By The Water). Stringsalsoadd
a richness that gives songs like "C'Mon
Billy" a timeless air.
But it is Harvey's voice that defi-
nitely benefits the most from the variety
of sonic expression. Finally, her many
facets are explored, and a few new ones
Continued from page 5
The Long Black Veil
No, the Chieftains probably do not
need help creating beautiful music, but
that has never stopped them in the past
as they have blended their traditional
sounds with the music of such artists as
RogerDaltrey, ElvisCostello and Nanci
Griffith. On their latest, "The Long
Black Veil," theChieftains turn to Sting,
Sinead O'Connor, Tom Jones, Van
Morrison, Mark Knopfler and the Roll-
ing Stones for assistance on anumberof
contemporary tunes and traditional bal-
Mick Jagger's vocals on the title
track are surprisingly strong while the
Chieftains back him with pipes, fiddles,
Colin James' beautiful mandolin and
Steve Cooney's digeridoo. Equally
strong is the quite off-the-cuff perfor-
mance by the rest of the Stones on "The
Rocky Road to Dublin." Hearing the
distinctive sounds of Keith Richards'
guitar blend with the more traditional
instruments is strange at first, but the
mix makes sense after a few minutes
and works amazingly well. Sting's
Gaelic turn on "Mo Ghile Mear" show-
cases his strength as a singer by placing
a choir behind him.
All of "The Long Black Veil" has a
wonderful, traditional feel to it even as
it embraces the contemporary. It's an
exceptionally strong effort by a band
not at all short on talent or inspiration.
- Dirk Schulze
Original Motion Picture
Soundtrack -- Interview With *
When he approved a soundtrack with
only two artists, composer Elliot
Goldenthal and Guns N' Roses, someone
should have asked David Geffen what he
Goldenthal, who performs 18 out of
the 19 tracks on the soundtrack from
"Interview With the Vampire," produces
mostly bland and uneventful symphonic
music. The majority of the tracks are short,
and are just small clips from the dull
Some ofthepieces are abit interesting,
like "Lestat's Tarantella" and "Escape to
Paris," but overall, the music fails to in-
spire the listener.
After the 40-some minutes of dull
and smack addicts take the stage with a
pathy For the Devil." Throughout tWe
track, Axl is doing his "Eyeeeeee"s and
"Yeaaaahh"s over the Ginner's typical
music. For a band who can't write their
own music anymore, it looks like Guns N'
Roses' career has been flushed down the
toilet one too many times, andit would be
quite asurpriseif we were tohearanythin*
new from them ever again.
Why aclassical fan would ever wantto
hear Guns N' Roses and why a Guns N'
Roses fan would want to hear Elliot
Goldenthal will alwaysbeamystery. Why
anyone would want to hear anything on
this disc is a bigger mystery.
- Brian A. Gnatt
Polly Jean Harvey, looking foxy while she brings you her love. Hey, it's a
tough job, but someone's gotta do it.
are invented: She growls and snarls like
a caged animal on tracks like "Long
Snake Moan," croons with a devilish
seductiveness on "Down By The Wa-
ter," reveals the pure beauty of her
voice on "Send His Love To Me" and
"The Dancer" and sounds like a woman
posessed on the title track.
The richness of expression found on
"To Bring You My Love" empahsizes
Polly Jean Harvey's debut as a solo artist;
while she played many of the instruments
on each track, she also enlisted the help of
some other great musicians -most nota-
bly guitarist Joe Gore, who's worked in
the past with the likes of Tom Waits (one
of Harvey's favorites). But it is Harvey's
intense (and successful) pursuit of her
artistic vision thatresults in her bringing to
fruition one of the best albums of the year.
I Ashley's 6th AnnualJ
'Boys Life' is a genuine heartfelt look at a homosexual coming of age
By Sarah Rogacki
For the Daily
Featured in the Michigan Theater's
Gay/Lesbian film series, "Boys Life"
showcases the short films of three up-and-
coming gay filmmakers. From the steam
room to the bathroom to the locker room,
each director provides an inside view of
the trials and tribulations of young men
dealing with their sexual identities.
"Boys Life" gives us a bicoastal
film school, plunges us into the depths of
a young lifeguard's struggle with sexual
preference in "Pool Days." Torn between
the limber aerobics instructor Vicky, and
the studly swimmer Russell, Justin goes
through a series of experiences made hu-
morous through Sloan's narrative craft-
ing. Raoul O'Connell's award-winning
film, "A Friend of Dorothy" follows as a
comic investigation of an NYU freshman's
quest to define his own sexual identity.
and Robert LeeKing
At the Michigan Theater
With the inspiration of diva Judy Garland,
Winston finds love and a feeling of con-
nection to the gay community. In "The
fornia graduate Robert Lee King turns
"The Wonder Years" inside out by por-
traying the experiences of a gay teen com-
ingoutinthelate 1970s. "Presumed straight
until proven guilty," we see the misunder-
standings and bigotry ofa small California
suburb through Tom's eyes as he manages
to come to terms with his own sexual
With each film lasting around 30 min-
utes, the viewer meets a medley ofcharac-
ters that keep the film-going experience
fresh and always intriguing. Although
each individual film has clicheddmoments
and bad acting, the collective work gains
momentum through the arrangement of
each piece. While "Pool Days" resembles
a quaint student film, "The Disco Years"
provides a local situation surrounded by
the political climate of an era through the
intercutting of documentary footage. "A
Friend of Dorothy" makes a perfect tran-
sition between the two works with
O'Connell's own charming portrayal of
socially ambitious Winston.
Credit is due to the producers of the
film and venues like the Michigan Theater
for exposing the work of gay filmmakers
to a larger audience. Yet, the subject mat-
ter of all three films seem to date their
messages, given AIDS awareness and the
political struggles of the gay community
as of late. Condoms are mentioned in
passing in O'Connell' first-yearofcollege
adventure and King's commentary deals
briefly with discrimination.
Looking at "Boys Life" in a social
and political context, one must question
the responsibility of independent film-
makers regarding the lack of discussion
about safe sexual practices in indepen-
dent films which concern themselves
with love, lust, and sex. Otherwise, the
collection comes off as a gay remake of
John Hughes"s "Sixteen Candles."
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