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April 21, 1998 - Image 17

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-04-21

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The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 21, 1998 - 17

Darkest 'Days' lie Westward

Clutch rides 'Elephant'

14 Probably experiencing its "Darkest
Days," Stabbing Westward has finally
released a follow up to "Wither, Blister,
mu and Peel," which featured the hit sin-
le "Shame."
The first single
from "Darkest
*t Days, is "Save
Stabbing Yourself." On this
w. track Stabbing

worthwhile lyrics. On "Save Yourself,"
vocalist Christopher Hall screams, "I can't
save you/ I can't even save myself/ So save
yourself." Giving the impression of a
depressed but lyrically thoughtful band on
"Wither, Blister, Burn and Peel," on
"Darkest Days," Stabbing Westward isjust
lyrically challenged.
On its new album the band is also cre-
atively challenged. Since Nine Inch Nails
is on hiatus, it seems like Stabbing
Westward is trying to rip off Reznor's
sound. In fact, the only tolerable songs on
this album are either reminiscent of Nine
Inch Nails or Tool.
Although Hall's vocals can never match
Rtnor'S or vlavnard Keenan's of Tool,
the electronic hooks on "The .Thing I
Hate," copy Nine Inch Nails fashion.

While electronics on most
of the other songs attempt
to equal Reznor's "Terrible
Lie," or beats already dis-
covered by God Lives
Underwater on its last two
albums.
On the tracks "When I
am Dead," and "On Your
Way Down," guitarist Jim
Sellers attempts to replicate
the gritty, driving sounds of
Tool's "Undertow"
There is no doubt that "Darkest Days"
was heavily influenced by the industry and
pretty much made for the industry. Fans
who enjoy generic beats, simple, boring
and depressive lyrics, and screaming (not
singing) in their music, will love this

Apparently, the history books are
wrong. Instead of horses, civil war caval-
ry rode into battle on the backs of large
elephants. At least that's the story as told
by Clutch on its new CD "The Elephant
Riders."
But what hurts Clutch's overall sound
on many tracks is Neil Fallon's vocals.
Too often, he tries to extend beyond his
capacities as a singe, and makes up for
this lack of vocal range by simply yelling.
However noble this might be, it brings
down the overall quality of the songs.
Especially on the title track and "The
Yeti," which have bizarre surreal lyrics

Westward
Darkest Days
Columbia
Reviewed by
Daily Arts Writer
Jewel Gopwani

, 1 1, t m Ir
Westward still tries
to ride "Shame's"
success, since its
musical lead-in is
almost identical to
that of their hit.
Aside from A

album.
But for the rest of us who enjoy elec-
tronic experimentation, creative guitar
hooks, challenging lyrics and talented
vocals, Tool and Nine Inch Nails will do
just fine.

decent beat, which is interrupted by a few
x seless interludes, the song is devoid of

,Scofield goes blandly 'A Go Go'

Clutch
The Elephant Riders
Columbia
Reviewed by
Daily Arts Writer
Curtis Zimmermann

that don't need
sound he's trying
to project. On
tracks such as
"Muchas Veces"
and "Wishbone,"
he doesn't try a go
beyond his
dynamic capacity
making the songs
much more pow-
erful. In some

Sammy Hagar.
One thing bodes well for this band is
there desire to try new musical directions
and mixing techniques. The all instru-
mental track "Crackerjack" combines
heavy metal melodies with ajazzed trom-
bone making it one of the best on the
album. "The Yeti" ends with shifts of
sound from one speaker to the other cre-
ating an eerie and almost disorienting
sound.
"The Elephant Riders" may not be an
incredible album but it does show that the
heavy metal sound which has been stagnant
since the early '90s is beginning to change.

. Have you ever invited a friend to a party and found
out half way through that he was more popular with
your friends than you? Well, that must be exactly

~what

jazz guitaris

John
Scofield
A Go Go
Verve
Reviewed by
Daily Arts Writer
Aaron Rich
jazz band, opting

t John Scofield is thinking right
now.
In his recently released
album "A Go Go," Scofield is
fully eclipsed by his guests,
John Medeski, Billy Martin
and Chris Wood. In fact,
Scofield himself brings down
the overall sound of the group
and comes out clearly as the
ugliest-sounding duckling of
this quartet.
Throughout the entire disc,
Scofield forgets that he is in a
for a harder, more rock 'n' roll

It's not that Slash isn't a talented guitarist, it's just
that Slash would not be able to jazz his way out of a
paper bag.
In "Hottentot," Scofield turns what would be a
fast-paced, groovy tune into a bad bit of quasi-rock,
appropriate only for "Red Shoe Diaries." Apparently,
his producers forgot to tell him that he was not on
stage in Woodstock, but in fact attempting a bit of
jazz and rock fusion.
What is most frustrating about this - and all the
other pieces on the album - is that John Scofield is
capable of playing a more smooth, clean sound (his
1994 Blue Note release "Handjive" is testament to
this). But perhaps all great musicians need their
moments of mediocrity.
The saving grace of this CD is the great back-up
the leader receives from Medeski, Martin and Wood.
It is apparent from the song "Jeep on 35" that the
drummer-bassist-organ trio know how to jam togeth-
er - and they do it well.
Scofield ironically comes across as a fifth wheel
on his own album. When the guitarist steps aside to

cases pn these tunes he ends up sougding
like a cross breed of Ozzy Osbourne and

let the others jam is when this disk truly comes alive;
when he comes back, the feelings are more forced
and awkward.
So what is the moral of this story? Check the
resumes of your friends before you invite them. They
might just out-do you at your own party. John
Scofield should definitely want to cry.

sound. On the track
"'Chank," the guitarist takes an organ-groove by
*Niedeski - that would make Jimmy Smith drool -
and ruins it by throwing in a guitar solo, a la Slash.

Miya introduces same old R&B song on self-titled debut

What ever happened to the heartfelt
emotions expressed in most of the R&B
music of the past? Where's the love? If
you're looking for the answers to these
questions then you're not likely to find
them on Mya's self-titled debut album.
This CD can be best described in one
phrase: OK, but nothing special.
Aside from a select few songs like
"Baby's It's Yours" and "If You Were
Mine," the rest are easily forgettable.
Listening to this CD is like listening to
one really long song. Cuts such as
"What Cha Say" and "Movin' On" use
mid-tempo, digitally mixed beats that

are so similar it's hard to tell where one
ends and the other begins.
The lyrics are nothing to brag about
either. "Bye Bye" and "We're Gonna
Make Ya Dance"
are so frivolous in
__:** theme that they
probably won't be
Mya remembered a
Mya year from now, let
alone 10 or 20.
Interscope The blame for
Reviewed by this CD's short-
Daily Arts Writer comings can't be
Jessica Simmons eo m p l e t e l y

heaped on Mya. Besides, an artist is
only as good as her material and Mya
didn't have much to work with. This is
rather unfortunate because she really
has a nice singing voice.
Nonetheless, Mya's debut offeri ng
misses the mark. The combined efforts
of Babyface, Missy Elliott, Daryl
Simmons and Dru Hill aren't even
enough to put it over the top. Better
luck next time, Mya.

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