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April 21, 1997 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-04-21

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12 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, April 21, 1997

Bosstones skank on with superb new release

The Mighty Mighty
Bosstones
Let's Face It
Mercury
7k **
For 10 years, The Mighty Mighty
Bosstones have been churning out their
hook-ridden ska-punk melodies and
touring at the brutish rate of 250 shows
a year. After five full-length albums and
numerous EPs, the band has finally
captured its phenomenal live energy on
record to create their strongest release
to date, the energetic and loveable
"Let's Face It."
While the ska seems to have over-
powered the Boston band's punk and
hardcore roots for the majority of the
album, the Bosstones pulled off their
most musically interesting and fresh-
sounding album. Vocalist Dicky
Barrett's raspy growl continues to show
up more frequently in "sing" mode, as
opposed to his harsher blood-curdling
screams that trademarked earlier
Bosstone records. It's not even until the
album's fourth song and also first sin-
gle, "The Impression That I Get' that
Barrett lets loose a scream in his tradi-
tional-Bosstone voice.
Like "Impression, the majority of
"Let's Face It" resumes the band's style
of more radio-friendly songs, like those
from 1993's "Don't Know How to
Party" and its predecessor, "More
Noise and Other Disturbances."
Somewhat forgotten are the attempts at

more serious and abrasive material like
the songs on the band's disappointing
last record, "Question the Answers."
The poppy "Noise Brigade" kicks the
record off with a bang, featuring the
band's tighter-than-ever three-piece
horn section. The still poppy and ska-
influenced "The Rascal King" contin-
ues the record in the same vein, with
"Royal Oil" going unusually light yet
refreshing for the band.
Halfway through the record, "That
Bug Bit Me" starts to ease the
album into harder-edged
songs, with "Numbered
Days," "Break So
Easily" and
"Desensitized"
pushing back to the
punk side a bit, but
still falling short of
the band's earlier hard-
core and heavy metal
sound. The final track, "1-2-8,"
starts off sounding like the album's
hardest track, but goes into a syrupy-
ska chorus for a nice, but light overall
feel.
"Let's Face It" clocks in at a mere 33
minutes, leaving the listener feeling like
the album ended somewhat premature-
ly. The record's cohesiveness and quali-
ty make up for any shortcomings in the
length department, however, and help to
create an album that is solid from start
to finish - an oddity in today's music
world.
- Brian A. Gnatt

Various Artists
The Saint: Music From the
Motion Picture
Virgin
The summer blockbusters have
begun early this year, and in the vein of
past hits like "Mission: Impossible" and
any James Bond flick, "The Saint"
promises more action than you can
point a sub-machine gun at. But, what
distinguishes "The Saint" from
other edge-of-your-seat
4 films is the soundtrack.
Successfully blending
everything from
alternative rock to
cutting edge elec-
tronica, "The Saint"
manages to jump on
the trendy techno band-
wagon right as it heads
out.
The playlist reads like a list of who's
who in current electronic music:
Chemical Brothers, Orbital, Moby and
Underworld, to name but a few. Of
course, not to forsake fans of the clas-
sics, Duran Duran and David Bowie
also make an appearance. The only
unfortunate thing about "The Saint"
soundtrack is that most of these songs
can be found on other albums; very lit-
tle of the material was created specifi-
cally for the movie. The exceptions to
this are Orbital's "Saint Theme," a
drum-heavy techno romp based on the
original TV show theme, and Moby's
"Oil," which will please Moby fans who
have little interest in his new jaunt into
the world of hard rock. More similar to
Moby's work on "Everything Is
Wrong;' "Oil" is destined to be a club
hit.
Other featured songs on the sound-
track are Duran Duran's new single
"Out Of My Mind" (which will appear
on their upcoming album
"Medazzaland") a lushly orchestrated
yet enigmatically catchy tune, which
proves that the band will continue to be
successful even without John Taylor.
Daft Punk, a Parisian duo who have
taken the European music scene by
storm, contribute "Da Funk," an ana-
log-created song with pulsing bass and
raw house beats, and "6 Underground,"
a trip-hop radio-friendly single with
chilling vocals by Sneaker Pimps Kelly

Dayton, has already brought the British
trio much acclaim. Stateside, girl group
and Beastie Boys prot6g6s Luscious
Jackson deliver "Roses Fade,' a near-
acoustic tune with a strangely Latin
melody, while Duncan Sheik's "In The
Absence of Sun" explores little new ter-
ritory for the artist. Like "Barely
Breathing;' this contribution is. inti-
mate, yet far too bland for a soundtrack
that prides itself on its progressiveness.
"The Saint" soundtrack provides a
fairly complete introduction into the up-
and-coming world of techno. With its
inclusion of chart-toppers like
Chemical Brothers "Setting Sun" and
Underworld's "Pearl's Girl," this sound-
track might not appeal to the die-hard
techno fan for lack of new material, but
would certainly introduce a little variety
into the average alternative rock collec-
tion.
- Lise Harwin
Eric Ben6t
True to Myself
Warner Bros.
First came D'Angelo. Then came the
trio Bass is Base. And now, last but cer-
tainly not least, is Eric Bendt continuing
the newest R&B craze of bringing out
'60s and '70s psychedelic styles with a
'90s R&B flava.
What makes "True to Myself" so
interesting is Benet's ability to contort
his vocals in ways gold-medal gymnasts
could only dream of. Listen to "If You
Want Me to Stay," and answer this: Is
that really Ben6t or Al Green and Zapp
Roger together? And on his "Let's Stay
Together" cover, can you be completely
sure that the voice singing isn't just
D'Angelo at a higher key? And as for
his "Femininity" remake? Tell me you
can't feel the spirit of comedian/singer
Jamie Foxx surrounding every word
coming out of Benet's mouth.
While he does sing a few songs with
more of a style all his own, Ben6t will
undoubtedly receive more than a little
well-deserved criticism for releasing an
album of mostly covers. From the bal-
lad "While You Were Here" to the more
upbeat "Spiritual Thang," Ben6t seems
to have a handicap when it comes to
using his obvious singing gift to push

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones serve up a winner with their latest, "Let's Fate it."

his own style. This is so sad, because -
as he shows in the original cut "Chains"
- if he were to do som'ething on his
own instead of incessantly biting off of
that which other music artists estab-
lished, Benet could quite possibly set
the R&B world on its ear.
- Eugene Bowen
The V-Roys
Just Add Ice
E-Squared Records
**
What hath these four guys from
Knoxville wrought? Unfortunately, not
much. While the back cover of the CD
case suggests something polished with
the band's members clad in sport jack-
ets and ties, the music inside is anything
but. Instead, it is the sort of rough, good
old rock 'n' roll feel that has been done
to death by just about everybody. And
the worst part is that the V-Roys don't
even do it that well.
Lead singer Scott Miller sounds a bit
like Tom Cochrane, only with five
times the nasal twang and half the
mediocre conviction. Occasionally, he
even sounds a bit like something that

escaped from The Nashville Network.
But the music doesn't follow
singer's voice. It occasionally. leans
toward a country feel, but it is more often
reminiscent of the Cars. The V-Roys
overuse the usual stock rock 'n' roll gui-
tar riffs and are nearly devoid of anything
interesting in the instrumentation.
Almost all of the songs are near carbon
copies of each other. The trio's synthesis
is usually awkward, raising the hair on the
back of the neck when they try to sing in
the higher range of their voices.
The mood of the album is somewE
melancholy and employs many of the
all-too-overdone song themes like
drinking, trying to get a girlfriend back
and being a loser.
One of the few high poi*s on the
record is the track, "Around Yot." Miller
sings nearly the whole thing'alone and
his voice is accentuated by the acoustic
scrawl of the guitars. Unfortuiately, the
climax doesn't hold for longand so,
the sound returns to its former state.
The V-Roys are true to their roots, but
that doesn't excuse their genuine lack of
originality. They attempt to replicate
something both classic rock-like and
poppy. Unfortunately, their style doesn't a
quite fill the bill.
- JackSchillaci

Soprano Norman to be honored at Hill recital

By Emily Lambert
Daily Arts Writer
Three pictures of vocalist Jessye
Norman hang on Janeece Freeman's
wall. In one, the sophomore voice
major shakes Norman's hand on the
stage of the School of Music Recital

Hall.
In another,
Freeman beams as
hugged by the leg-
endary soprano.
"I felt very hon-
ored just to be able
to speak with her,"

P
JeS
Satu

Freeman said last week of Norman, a
University alumna who visited campus
in September. After announcing a
scholarship and masterclass series
established in her name, Norman met
with students to talk and answer ques-
tions. Freeman was there, and thrilled.
"She has this aura;' Freeman said,
"that almost seems supernatural.'
A few blocks away, another picture of
Jessye Norman hangs in a Burton Bell-
tower office. It hung last week above
the head of Kenneth Fischer, University
Musical Society executive director, as
he busily prepared for the great singer's
upcoming arrival. Thumbing through
the script of a filmed tribute, Fischer
described the Ford Honors Program to

be held Saturday in Norman's honor.
The evening, will include student per-
formances, speeches, a gala reception
and a recital by Norman. Proceeds
raised will benefit the UMS Education
Program.
"I was at (Norman's) home above
New York and had
, E ~a wonderful con-
L ELV ILE W versation with her
ssye Norman about this event,"
urday, April 26 at 6 p.m. Fischer said offi-
Hill Auditorium cially.
Tickets: $ 15-450 "We want her to
enjoy it as much as
I'm sure we will enjoy having her here."
Jessye Norman. Her phenomenal
voice opened the 1996 Olympic Games
in Atlanta. She sang at both of Clinton's
presidential inaugurations. On the
200th anniversary of the French
Revolution, her version of the
Marseillaise rang worldwide. "It makes
you want to, you know, rev up those
missiles and run out and fighthfor
France," the then-First Lady, Barbara
Bush, is to have said, according to
Philips Music.
But this weekend in Hill Auditorium,
Norman's admirers will do some
singing of their own. After an hour-long
recital, friends and fans will sing her
praises as Norman is presented with the

UMS 1997 Distinguished Artist Award.
Norman was chosen to receive this
award, said Fischer, because of her
prominence and ties to Michigan.
Norman, who has sung on nearly every
leading stage in the world, has performed
seven times under UMS auspices.
Highlights of her current season
include recitals in Amsterdam,
Cologne, London, Paris, Munich,
Hamburg, Barcelona, Brussels, Vienna
and Carnegie Hall.
To round out a busy schedule,
Norman serves on the boards of many
charitable organizations, including
Citymeals-on-Wheels in New York
City, the New York Botanical Garden
and the Ms. Foundation. Norman is also
the national spokesperson for the
Partnership for the Homeless.
School of Music Associate Dean
Willis Patterson was on the
University's voice faculty when
Norman earned her Master's degree at
the University in 1969. In his North
Campus office, Patterson recalled
Norman's arrival to study with Pierre
Bernac and Elizabeth Mannion.
"She was a very, very bright young
lady" said Patterson. "Very determined
and extremely talented."
Patterson and Norman have remained
friends through the years, often collab-

orating. They worked together on three
television broadcasts, and Patterson was
a consultant in Norman's Carnegie Hall
spiritual festival with soprano Kathleen
Battle.
Knowing Norman personally
increases Patterson's respect for her
many talents.
"She is not only a fine musician and
an excellent vocalist," Patterson said,
"but she's an extremely articulate per-
son - in several different languages."
Norman's weekend schedule does not
allow for dinner plans at Patterson's
home, where she is a regular guest. She
is booked to appear at a gala dinner, for
which some will pay $10,000 for a table
of 12. At that, $15 for a student ticket to
the recital and tribute seems a trifle. And
Fischer hopes to bolster student atten-
dance. Unlike last year, the presentation
of this year's Distinguished Artist Award
will take place before commencement.
Norman is already well-decorated. A
Georgia native, Norman holds France's
"Legion d'Honneur." Paris' National
Museum of Natural History named an
orchid after her. Norman holds no fewer
than 28 honorary doctorates, including
one from the University.
Co-chairs of Saturday's event include
Nobel Prize-winner Toni Morrison and
New York Philharmonic Conductor

University alumna Jessye Norman will perform at Hill Auditorium on April 26.

Kurt Masur, though neither will be pre-
sent. Norman is only the second recipi-
ent of this UMS award, following
pianist Van Cliburn.
This UMS event begins earlier than
most with the recital starting at 6 p.m.,

and Norman's program will be
announced.
Know her or not, odds are you'v
heard Jessye Norman. Saturday's
great opportunity to hear alt} about her
- and to hear her again. n

H El

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