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December 09, 1997 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-12-09

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8 -The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, December 9, 1997

Hypnotic, dreamy pop
grows on Ivy's listeners

'Diddy Kong Racing'-.
drives users' addiction

Apartment Life

Adam Schlesinger has been a rather busy man over the
past 1 1/2 years. The talented Ivy bassist is not only the
Ivy bassist, but he is also the talented guitarist and song-
writer for pop up-and-comers, Fountains of Wayne.
Schlesinger is also the talented musician who
wrote the Oscar-nominated title track for the
Tom Hanks film "That Thing You Do!" r
And Schlesinger is also the talented co-
founder of Mercury's Scratchie
Records, along with Smashing'
Pumpkins' James Iha and D'Arcy
Wretzky. Adam Schelsinger is talented.
But despite all of his merits,
Schlesinger is only one-third of the rea-
son why Ivy's second release "Apartment
Life" is as irresistible as it is. Guitarist Andy
Chase and Paris-born vocalist Dominique Durand
are the other members responsible for creating Ivy's
sophisticated blend of hypnotic dreamy pop, so rich
with gourmet ambience that it warrants its own shelf
in today's supermarket of radio-friendly specials.
Each of the 12 songs on "Apartment Life" has its
share of surprise chord progressions and piercing
melodic hooks that alone put most other bands' musi-
cal ingenuity to shame. But none of the songs even
reach their potential until Durand's vocals fill in the
warm nooks and crannys with her smooth and seduc-
tive French accent. Not only does she physically epit-
omize an ideal female lead singer, but her European
elocution is so alluring that it even leaves your CD
player smoldering with desire.
A more textured offering than the band's full-length
debut "Realistic," "Apartment Life" showcases an Ivy
with even more musical depth. Strings and horns
enhance several of the songs, most notably on the
trumpet-driven "This Is The Day" and the though-pro-
voking "Baker" - the latter of which would not be
out of place on an early Burt Bacharach album.
First single "The Best Thing" introduces the album
with a combination of noisy guitar tones and single
note solos as Durand tells the story of newly confident
woman on-the-go: "She's reformed ... she's moving
fast / she's a superstar. She's getting high / she covers
up her scars I It's the best thing she's ever had."
in conjunction with the album's title, the bulk of the
material on "Apartment Life" deals with the cos-
mopolitan hustle and bustle of big-city relationships.
The listener becomes intrigued while following the
search for freshly sparked love on "I've Got A
Feeling;' and later develops a sonic inferiority com-
plex on the distorted rocker "You Don't Know
Anything" as Durand scolds, "By now there's nothing
left to say, I just opened your letters! I know you're
only human but I expect something better /You let me
down again and drove me to the end / and its so
strange the way you've changed." Such subtle lyrical

poise adds yet another dynamic dimension to Ivy's
multi-faceted appeal.
The best overall combination of all things Ivy falls into
place on "Get Out Of The City,' as a fuzzy guitar riff quick-
ly meanders across a crisp and clear wall of drums and ath-
letic base. This gem is a theme song for anyone who has
ever been caught in traffic on a steamy July afternoon.
If you haven't yet been won over by Ivy's chiming and
detached aura, more of Dominique's tantalizing inflec-
tion can be heard on the closing salvos "Quick,
Painless and Easy" and the fey "Back In Our
If it's not blatantly clear by now, Ivy
has the capacity to melt the most
steely of hearts, as well as peak the
intellectual interest of the most
tight-laced sophisticates. Ivy will
definitely grow on you.
- Brian Cohen

Ivy offers hypnotic, dreamy pop on "Apartment Life."
a fairly painful experience of listening to the separate
and incomplete tracks. Very frustrating.
The impetus behind this project seems to be
twofold. First is the possibility of having more than
two sound sources. The second reason behind this
seems to be involved with the principle of randomness
involved with starting multiple CD players. The
sounds will interact differently in subtle ways when-
ever they are played, which means both that listeners
are somehow involved in making what they hear and
that it is an ever-changing piece of music.
The ultimate effect is impressively more complicated
and subtle than previous output of the Flaming Lips,
although that may be a side effect of the discrete nature
of the parts of the songs. Many of the individual elements
are quite like score pieces, and the combined tracks tend
to be lovely yet strong. Many melodic vocals and delicate
instruments combine with harsh vocals and lead guitars
to make sonic salads on songs like "The Train Runs Over
the Camel But is Derailed by the Gnat."
But then there are the especially irksome experi-
ments, like "How Will We Know?" which are largely
ultra-high and ultra-low frequency sounds that can
give you a headache among other things. The band's
sense of humor is still around though, since it still has
songs like "The Big Ol' Bug is the New Baby Now."
Well, this album is annoying in its user require-
ments for the complete experience, but it is reasonably
good once it's all combined. The Flaming Lips should
have probably just put it all together on tape, but if it
won't, then you should spend the time doing it.
- Ted Watts

The Flaming Lips
Z aireeka
Warner Bros.
Some people try way too much to be cool. "Zaireeka"
is four CDs at a cost of about two CDs. Unfortunately,
"Zaireeka" is only one album worth of songs.
Not that there are a bunch of puff songs contained
within the album. No, it's much more insidious than
that. There are eight tracks on each CD, but each track
is meant to be played simultaneously with the corre-
sponding track on each of the other three CDs.
You have to either put a whole lot of effort into
hearing the CDs together or else you have to deal with

By Chris Henry
For the Daily
It's December, which means that
term papers are due and finals are just
around the corner. So, with all these
serious deadlines before heading home
for Christmas, why is my mind preoc-
cupied with how to beat a giant walrus
in a race down an _ _ _
icy slope, while
avoiding obstacles
like trees, rocks
and menacing
The reason is
simple -
Nintendo addiction. It's a disease that
has been known to cause sore thumbs,
low GPAs and headaches from long
hours of staring at a flashing televi-
sion screen. There is no rehab. The
only way to beat it is to go cold
But if "Diddy Kong Racing" is
indicative of the direction in which
video games are going, kicking the
Nintendo habit is going to be awfully
"Diddy Kong Racing" has all of the
same elements that made "Mario Kart
64" such a success. It has the cute
characters from other popular
Nintendo games (Diddy Kong is
Donkey Kong's companion in
"Donkey Kong Country"), a grand-
prix format, which allows one or
more players to race on any given
track, and special weapons that you
can use to bomb racers in front of and
behind you.
The game, which runs on a 96-
megabit cart, features graphics that are
far superior to those in "Mario Kart
64;' has more races to run and cool new
racing vehicles, including a plane and a
It also includes an ultra-fun one-
player adventure mode that blends the
racing style of "Mario Kart 64" with
the free-roaming style of "Super Mario
When you put these two elements
together, it creates a game that will
make you spend hours feeding your
The adventure mode is the most
fun part of the game. Unlike "Mario
Kart 64," which could get pretty bor-
ing when played solo, the format of
"Diddy Kong" allows you to go to
any of the four worlds in the game
and race in any of the five races with-
in them.
Once you win a race, Taj, a banished


genie, gives you a magic balloon. The
more balloons you get, the more worlds
you can enter.
But you don't only get to race other
racers. If you collect all the balloo
in one world, you become eligibl
race the boss of that world. You can
prove your true racing mettle against
a k in dly -red
dinosaur, a--won-
derful walrus andl
Didd Kong an octopus.
acing If you can De t
**** them, youtl be
Nintendo 64 closer to fighting
Wizpig, the a'd
guy who cast a spell over all
friendly inhabitants of the mountati
"Diddy Kong Racing" forces you
to become a master of every race in
the game. The game finds clever ways
of testing your mastery, like making
you beat all of the races again even
after you've beaten the boss of a
But the second time around, yo
must win while at the same time c
lect eight coins scattered over fhe
In order to beat some of the races,
you literally have to run a perfect
The frustration you feel at another
player's victory after hours of play
will only make your eventual first-
place finish more enjoyable. Mix the
incredible graphics, fast animation
and smooth play control of "Did
Kong Racing:" and you can kiss gr
school goodbye.
Since the adventure mode is byfar
the most addictive and fun part about
the game, it's too bad that I cannot s y
the same thing about the multi-player
mode. The races are so fast-paced and
detailed that the split-screen format
makes it very hard to see where you
are going.
Plus, the races in the multi-play
mode can only be run if you ha
gotten to them in the adventure
mode first, which means that if you
stink at the game, you can only. race
against your friends on four differ-
ent tracks.
Nevertheless, the impotenceof the
multi-player format doesn't diminish
the overall fun factor of this.,game.
Whether or not you have finals com-
ing up, "Diddy Kong Racing"
guaranteed to provide hours
addictive and entertaining game





Winter Term
Apply now at the
Law Library
- non-Law Students
SLaw Students
* .1 . Students
Apply in person: Room 8-180 in
the Law Library's underground
addition, 8-noon and I .,
Monday through Friday.

Friday, Dec. 12, 1997



" .Cyo i

don't know then you're late already!"

..r'-. ' "

-Stuart Bogey,

" Transmission"I?

FithI special funk-groove guests:


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