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September 04, 1996 - Image 20

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-09-04

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20 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 4, 1996

'First Kid'
comes in
dead last
By Neal C. Carruth
Daily Arts Writer
Disney's embarrassingly aimless new
comedy "First Kid" details the hijinks
of the president's son Luke Davenport
(Brock Pierce) and his hapless Secret
Service escort Sam Simms (Sinbad).
The president, campaigning for re-elec-
tion, struggles to endure the embarrass-
ment of his son's repugnant and
destructive behavior, while Luke strug-
gles through adolescence. It is this sort
of bottom-floor entertainment that just
might drive one to pay attention to the
even more aimless presidential cam-
paign ongoing in the non-celluloid
world.
"First Kid" opens with the removal of
Agent Woods (Timothy Busfield), for
reasons of apparent incompetence,
from the team that protects the young
REMEW
14 First Kid
At Showcase
Luke. In Woods' stead, Agent Simms is
assigned to the detail. Initially, Simms
views this assignment as far short of his
ambition to protect the president.
Predictably, though, Simms teaches the
alienated Luke to loosen up, and a deep
bond develops between the two.
Brock Pierce, who must have been
runner-up in a Macaulay Culkin
look-a-like contest, is about as talent-
ed as any contemporary child actor.
He has the spoiled brat shtick down
pat and can even act with a certain
nervous charm. But that's pretty
much his whole range. Previously, his
talents have been on display in "Little
Big League" and "The Mighty
Ducks."
Sinbad's character teaches the little
stinker how to fight and woo women,
and this seems to neutralize Luke's feel-
ings of social distance and awkward-

Barkmarket bites strong on new release 4

Barkmarket
L. Ron
American

Twangy guitar strings are the first
noticeable object on Barkmarket's lat-
est. The band quickly gives way to a
voice of infinite musical wisdom (Dave
Sardy, frontman and engineer to the
stars) and some delectably constructed
electric guitar music.
With bleeding vocals that seem to
implode into themselves over the
course of a song (with plenty of crests
and troughs along the way), a distinc-
tive rhythm guitar sound and a beat that
is the in-your-face heart of the music,
Barkmarket has been making elaborate
forms of sonic beauty for years now
from their HQ of Brooklyn. The band
has been underappreciated for years,
and if there is any justice, "L. Ron"
will garner them more atten-
tion than from the sensi-
tive cult members of
Scientology who fol-
low the "teachings"
of dead science fic-
tion writer L. Ron
Hubbard.
Barkmarket's
lyrics tend to be about
concrete sort of things,
and play out little morality
stories or just spout darkly
unclear poetry that might be a tad
unsufferable without the brilliant
music underneath. "I Don't Like
You" is a hall burner with a crushing
bunch of noise underlying the cho-
rus, while the lyrics admit to dislike
based on similarity between the sub-
ject and object of the title.
Baikmarket's sound is one of a sandy
kind of darkness. "Is it Nice?" rolls along
with it's muffled vocals and straining guitars
and straight drum work and engenders a
real feeling of beautiful desolation.
The album reaches its crescendo on
"Shiner." The song begins with a strong
desolate feel, but the chorus combines
some slightly happier sounds with a
more lilting voice and hope gets added
to the mix of emotions that the album
engenders. Pretty cool.
- Ted Watts

has returned to the R&B fold with
"Back to the World," his third album
and his first in three years.
Campbell has learned more than a
few business tricks from Quincy
Jones, who introduced Campbell,
then 12, to the musical world on his
multi-Grammy release, "Back on the
Block," where Campbell sang the
No. I hit "Tomorrow (Better You,
Better Me)." Jones's protege is exec-
utive producer of his own album this
time.
After listening to "Tell Me Where" I
was far from surprised to learn that
Babyface helped produce this song.
With sweet music and a refrain which
goes, "Tell me where ... it hurts you /
and I'll kiss you there," this song could
only have been created by Babyface, a
man who has turned begging into a fine
art.
Perhaps the biggest surprise on
this album is knowledge that
Bad Boy CEO Sean
q "Puffy" Combs also
flexes a little produc-
er-man muscle,
assisting with the
romantic "I'll Be
There," the fresh-
beat filled "We Can
Work It Out" and the
more blah "You Don't
Have to Worry."
Campbell's vocal abilities have
certainly matured in this three-year hia-
tus. It is nice to see that the voice from
which such beautiful songs as "Tell Me
What You Want Me to Do," "One
Song" and "Always in My Heart" were
sang has not diminished in any quality
- except for the noticeable lack of
higher-pitched notes that he hit many
times over on his previous two albums,
"T.E.V IN." and "I'm Ready." Puberty
be damned.
-Eugene Bowen

Sinbad used to be cool. Then he met this little brat.

ness. I'll leave it for others to debate
what kind of message this delivers.
Most disappointing of all, though, is
Sinbad. His transition from an accom-
plished career in stand-up and televi-
sion to the world of film has been a
bumpy one. In "First Kid," he appears
stiff and boxed-in, like he's trying too
hard. This is bothersome because it
obscures his typically ebullient person-
ality and flawless timing. I hope he will
soon find the right vehicle.
Sadly, some other fine actors are
lost in hollow supporting roles that
barely scratch the surface of their tal-
ent. Busfield ("thirtysomething") is
wasted as the cruel, loony Woods. Any
no-name character actor could have
taken this part, and Busfield's pres-

ence in "First Kid" may say something
about the desperate straits of his
career.
Also trapped in a small role is Robert
Guillaume ("Benson"). Guillaume has
intermittently taken on film roles
(Rafiki in "The Lion King"), but has
mainly focused on stagework for the
last 10 years. Another stage regular, the
refined James Naughton, plays
President Davenport.
Although "First Kid" touches on the
chilly, vacant relationship between
Luke and his father, this facet of the
film is not explored nor given a satis-
factory resolution. Instead, we have an
unoriginal and flat film that goes for the
easy laughs and is rendered with a
broad, clumsy brush.

Beck
Odelay
DGC

Beastie Boys and indie rock, while
retaining the sound of senility that
Beck so often lends to his composi-
tions. The samples in the track give
it an antiquated feel that rides com-
fortably. But if you expect the rest of
the album to be like it, you've got
another thing coming. And another.
And another.
"Minus" sounds almost like some-
thing by Thurston Moore. The vocals
running on at slow points in the music
and the general guitar feel of the track
imbue it with such a feel. Who'd've fig-
ured?
"Sissyneck" is somewhere between
the theme of the "Andy Griffith Show"
and the Doors. "Readymade" is yet
another reversal. With horns virtually
out of a '60s Italian B-flick, it's abou*
as far from the hills as could be. So is
"High 5 (Rock the Catskills)" which is
some screamrap with some grooviness
and guitar squealin'. The lyrics are so
distorted that they sound like "Hifi,
mon death to the live I'm rocking the
plaster like a man from the casket"
And that's pretty damn neat.
"Odelay" is so all over the place that
it ultimately fails to give any clear def-
inition to Beck. That is the point
though.
At the same time, the album doesn't
leave that many deep impressions
because of its scattered approach. Like
the last track, "Ramshackle," it is ulti-
mately just too intentional and cool to
really be what everyone seems to be
billing it as. Still a fun ride, though.
-Ted Watts
Various Artists
Lounge Ax Compilation
Touch and Go
A lot of benefit discs pop up all over
the place, most with only a couple of
good tracks and a bunch of throw-away
tracks from a lot of big name artists.
"Lounge Ax" is really nice, becau
it doesn't have all the pomp and cir-
cumstance of the big MTV bands, yet
rocks much harder. What's even nicer is
that Touch and Go is donating every
penny of profit from the sale of the disc
to Chicago's Lounge Ax night club, to
cover its legal debts and help it to con-
tinue running.
When you see the line-up that the
album has in store, it reads like a mon-
sters-of-indie-rock bill. This much ta
ent in one place is a crime. The one
reason this didn't get four and a half or
five stars is that the Shellac track,
"Killers," doesn't even last 90 seconds,
and it's a damn shame, too.
The Jesus Lizard starts off the disc
with a fierce, solid track,
"Uncommonly Good." Sebadoh, led by
Lou Barlow (who you guys :might
know from The Folk Implosion 'and
their hit from the "Kids" soundtra'
"Natural One") turns in a typical bu-
er, "Whole Hog."
Indie giants Guided By Voices,Yo La
Tengo, Mekons, Archers of Loaf,
Superchunk, and Seam all deliver right
on time with excellent efforts, which
come as no surprise to anyone familiar
with any of their music. Don't worry
about throw-away tracks and boring b-
sides on this disc, because they're real-
ly hard to find.
The biggest surprise on the disc#
the group June of '44, who tear tfris
whole compilation to shreds. Their
track "Rivers and Plains" starts out
pretty quiet, gaining speed and energy
like a screaming locomotive, but there's
no crash and burn here, baby. This is
just an indication of how good June of
'44 really is. Look out for their new

album in stores now.
All together, "Lounge Ax" deliv
what the package says it does, iri g
superstars with more to play thar a
lame cover tune or some obscure b-
side. If you like any one of the 14 bands
that appear on "Lounge Ax," I'd defi-
nitely suggest getting the disc, because
I know you'll find a few more tracks
that'll chop your head off.
- Colin Bartos

Tevin Campbell
Back to the World
Qwest / Warner Bros. Records.
Just when I thought it was time to
throw his name to the overnight-suc-
cess scrap heap, Mr. Tevin Campbell

I ______________________________________________________

There's been plenty of hype about
this album. But no matter what Spin
says, "Odelay" is not a perfect album. It
does indeed have several truly kicking
songs on it, but the album is not so very
much a piece of Faberge, although it
may have as many different and distinct
little parts as an Imperial egg.
"Devil's Haircut" is a fast mover that
radio picked up more or less without
DGC pushing it. It's extremely likable
and is a smart move for an opening
track. The smooth surface of the song is
especially important in relation to the
second song, "Hotwax," which has too
many elements in it. It has a beautiful
guitar part, but has plenty of light and
lilting parts to keep it from stagnating.
But the song starts to wander, and it
just doesn't hold together. It tries too
hard.
"Lord Only Knows" is an interesting
change, with its country sense and hip-
hop wank guitar interlude. It harkens
nicely to the lo-fi indie stuff Beck has
put out in the last couple years. And, of
course, it's the song with the album title
in it as some sort of refrain near the
end.
"The New Pollution" has a brilliant
wide eyed '54s opening, but gets
bogged down in super repetition of an
even-keeled sound and just gets a little
tired.
"Derelict" has some interesting
drums which Beck's vocals conform to
the confines of. The flatness of the
verses and the highly inflected chorus
work with and against each other to
create expectation and fulfillment of
something satisfying.
Beck has always had a somewhat
referential bent, and "Odelay" has
its share of such stuff. "Novacane"
feels almost like a Hendrix song
with some hip-hop elements, while
"Jack-Ass" contains a Dylan sample
without sounding anything like the
original.
Next is the heavily played "Where
It's At." A great little composition, it
sounds somewhere - between the

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