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October 08, 2002 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-10-08

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ART S

The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 8, 2002 - 7

BREAKING

RECORDS

REVIEWS OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY'S NEW RELEASES

BRIGHT EYES
LIFTED, OR THE STORY
THE SOIL, KEEP YOUR
TO THE GROUND
SADDLE CREEK

IS IN
EAR

By Graham Kelly
Daily Arts Writer
Bright Eyes is back with Lifted,
or The Story is in the Soil, Keep
Your Ear to the Ground, a mellow-
er album than their previous LP
Fevers and Mirrors. Conor Oberst,
the 22-year-old mastermind behind
Bright Eyes, took time earlier this
year to record a heavier rock
album littered with social com-
mentary with side-project
Desaparacidos. Having released
much of his anger with that effort,
Lifted sees Oberst taking new
turns musically and leaning away
from the heavy, grinding guitars of
Desaparacidos.
From the country-western "Make

War." to the Barry Manilow-esque
"False Advertising" to the dark, want-
ing "Lover I Don't Have to Love," the
band seems intent on experimenting
with styles. They also find solid new
ground with the choral effects on
"Method Acting" and the use of
strings on "Lover I Don't Have to
Love" and "Don't Know When But a
Day is Gonna Come."
For old Bright Eyes fans, the
intensely personal lyrics are still
there: Oberst has not lost a touch of
the sentimental honesty that fills
his writing. In "Method Acting" he
sings, "We need a record of our
failures / We must document our
love." Oberst has also tamed his
once-wilder voice '- it still quivers
on the high notes, but rarely breaks
into the annoying scream that suc-
cessfully delivers his staggeringly
intense emotions but at a the cost
of grating listener's ears.
The bottom line is that Bright
Eyes' Lifted is an album with
lyrics that will both mesmerize
listeners and simultaneously drag
them deeper into Oberst's psyche.
At times the songs drag on a bit
too long or the style is too far
away from the indie-rock that
Bright Eyes writes so effortlessly,
but as Conor Oberst sings on
"Let's not Shit Ourselves (To Love
and Be Loved)," "I do not read the
reviews / No I am not singing for
you." Great Conor, but that means
you'll just bore us at times.
RATING:*** *

*
sl

SING-SING
THE JOY OF SING-SING
,MANIFESTO RECORDS INC

By Mary Fitzpatrick
For the Daily

THE LIARS
THEY THREW Us ALL IN A TRENCH AND
STUCK A MONUMENT ON TOP
BLAST FIRST/MUTE
By Andrew M. Gaerig
For the Daily
Having garnered a quite a bit of attention for their Euro-
pean jaunt with press-darlings The Yeah Yeah Yeah's, The
Liars' debut record has been re-released by storied indie
label Blast First Records. Comprised of a rag-tag transplants
who have emigrated New York via Australia, Los Angeles
and Nebraska, The Liars' music sounds less like the recent
exports from New York garage, and more like the spastic
dance grime of Gang of Four.
The Liars sound like they're playing a party at a homeless
shelter. Singer Angus Andrew is leaning his imposing six
foot six frame over the entire club, and he's gargling glass.
Guitarist Aaron Hemphill is wringing splinters from the
neck of his guitar, and he plays his riffs on a shitbox drum
kit. The rhythm section is pounding out a loud spaz-
disco punk beat. And everyone is dancing.
And as with any good dance tune, it's the rhythm that
really matters. The drums provide a post-punk dance
groove, and the bass hooks are biting disco aberrations
that drive the songs. The guitars never really congeal
into chords or even coherent lines, but the collage of
sharp squawks and smudged riffs add enough texture to
keep the songs from sounding repetitive. Over all of this
dirty noise, Andrew spits non-sequiturs like they mean
something. "They cut me out of medical school!" he

E
lazily shrieks on "Garden was Crowded and Outside."
The songs all follow more or less the same formula,
save for the closer, "This Dust Makes That Mud," a 30-
plus minute experiment in dazed tape loops. While the
songs aren't traditionally catchy, certain noises and tex-
tures, as well as the unique delivery of the lyrics, will
keep the songs in your head. The Liars' soiled sounds
and vicious abrasion may be hard to digest, but close
listening will keep things moving on sweaty, craggy
dance floors everywhere.
RATING: * * *
ka sound of catchy "Rock 'n' roll is here to make you
tars and fast-paced dance and shout / they cower in the
1 background and they
it sneer and whine,"
i- they sing in "Get It
or Goin' On" calling out
.d ,Bands like Dashboard
n- y Confessional and
rs Saves the day.
-d After five years of
he anticipation, Yellow #5
d still leaves much to be
is desired. This album
ar does not fall to par
with their previous
is shown in the releases, but for many starved Mustard
behind "Already Plug fans, anything after five years is
ill not be troubled enough. In addition, with such a long
faster tracks like period between releases, one would
et" that keep with think they would be more productive
a few tracks, they than 11 tracks with under a half an
claim as the savior hour total playing time.

GOOD CHARLOTTE
THE YOUNG AND THE
HOPELESS
Eric

By Tony Ding
Daily Arts Writer
They founded and mastered a ghet-
to-punk style of pop rock and are
essentially the Brewer twins of pop-
punk obsession. After riding through
a second summer on the Warped van,
dynamic duo twins Benji and Joel
Madden, along with the rest of the
Good Charlotte family, unveil their
second disc, The Young and the
Hopeless. It's a piteous reflection on
the volatile imbalance of the Ameri-
can family, all personified through
The Eminem Factor - namely an
intimate insight into the tumultuous
adolescence of these boys, the hard-
ships they've survived, and their sub-
sequent path out of rags and into the
riches of success.
The album is perfectly mastered,
gliding down in an angelic acousti-
cal opener that bursts to life badass
style. The hit single in Y&H,
"Lifestyles Of The Rich And
Famous," is as catchy as The
Eminem. Show, as fun as Enema of
The State, and as edgy and brilliant
as Dookie. Proof of Good Charlotte's
true punk and neo-hardcore base
thrives in "Hold On," which puts out
all of the instrumental talent and
lyrical formulae essential for top-
notched play. Where fellows NFG
and Blink-182 sing about petty rela-
tionship dramas, GC's new offering
boast ballads blowing off the oppo-
site sex, and portraits of their own
ideal "Riot Girl," who happens to
"hate Britney." Y&H also brings

back lead vocal Joel Madden's har-
monizing voice, in songs like "Say
Anything," that melts away giggly
girls and makes insecure guys
denounce Good Charlotte as "gay."
Their power and ability to capital-
ize on natural vocal abilities aids
GC in bringing us intimate insight
into a painful past, as in "The Story
Of My Old Man," where the Mad-
den twins put into song their
anguish ,from an abandoning and
alcoholic father. The most heart-
wrenching piece, however, is "Emo-
tionless." Done in an acoustic outcry
to the twin's father, Joel sings "You
broke my mother's heart / You broke
your children's life," using the song
as a personal letter reaching out to
his father. Tears flow when the boy
hits continuous 20-second notes,
sirainifg "Sometimes-I forgive, and
then there's times I'll admit / I'll
miss you."
Good Charlotte have physically
grown up from the high school
delinquency of their debut album,
but at 22, they're still experiencing
adulthood with a lot of juvenile
reminiscence. In almost the same
way college folks develop a cynical
disgruntled attitude towards society,
The Young and the Hopeless has let
go of that teenage angst so perva-
sive in the first album, and in its
place presents a bigger picture of
Good Charlotte's world, with tongue
placed firmly in cheek. In this day
and age of vote-them-on pop idols
and trust-fund-fed, corporate-con-
cocted stage queens, Good Charlotte
stands tall above the muck and
syrup, with real lives, real chal-
lenges, and a real future.
RATING:* * * *

Sing-Sing's debut album, The Joy of
Sing-Sing, features fast-paced techno
beats behind the soft and simple voice of
Lisa O'Neil. Emma Anderson, formerly
of Lush, provides guitar and backing
vocals for Sing-Sing, along with much
of the instrumental writing.
O'Neil's voice lacks the brassy or
vibrato quality we have come to
expect from female vocalists. Sing-
Sing is more closely identifiable
with the vocal styles of Garbage or
Sneaker Pimps. The melodies
behind the voice are not as rook
driven as early Garbage, but are
comparable to some of their later
efforts. The album also has a bit of a
retro feel, looking back to Blondie
and the '80s pop we all sort of
remember. While these influences
may compromise the originality of
the album at times, Sing-Sing uses
some innovative techniques to set
their music apart from the ghosts of
pop past.
The instrumental scope on this
record rivals any electronic music
coming out of Detroit. A winding jack
in the box opens the album and adds
to its childlike qualities, before the
song quickly changes key and tone yet
continues to thread a similar eerie
sound throughout the track. Harp pro-
gramming appears between verses on
"Emigre," a creepy duet with an
unusual time signature featuring
O'Neil and Vinny Miller. The band
daringly samples chirping birds,
smoothly incorporating nature into
electronic pieces while linking "I'll
be" to "Me and My Friend." Not all of
the instrumental variations aided the
flow and intricacy of the album, unfor-
tunately, as the trumpet intro on "Far
Away from Love" makes the track as
cheesy as its title might indicate.
Lyrically, tracks cover common top-
ics such as love and death. However,
"Panda Eyes" lets the band be the first
to write about a girl who commutes
from the moon to Earth daily, and
today has arisen with horrible hang-
over. The track "I'll Be" has words
with strong rhymes and rhythms, mak-
ing it the gem of the album as O'Neil's
voice gives a beat to smooth instru-
mental music. "Need me like I need to
/need you / starve yourself so I can
feed you / bore me / adore me / slow
me down / speed me up / inspire me /
be hard as nails and soft as tears." This
track stands out because the rest of the
album and most electronic music in
general leave the vocalist somewhat
detached from the beat.
The Joy of Sing-Sing alternates from
music you could dance to at a club to
music you would want in the back-
ground as you talk to your friends over
coffee. Meshing sugary vocals with
spicy instrumentals creates an album
with some flaws, but these inevitably
occur when groups blend new musical
elements. If you need a techno fix
with some female perspective, Sing-
Sing sings for you.

MUSTARD PLUG
YELLOW 5
HOPELESS RECORDS
By Tom Burke
For the Daily

Promoted as the "album to save ska-
punk," Yellow #S is Mustard Plug's
first full album in five years. These
six-piece ska veterans from Grand
Rapids have been relentlessly touring
the U.S., Europe and Japan for more
than 10 years now. High energy, zany
humor and non-stop dancing have been
the mark of Mustard Plug shows for an
entire decade. This new album follows
a ska renewal, with giants like Reel
Big Fish and Mighty Mighty Bos-
stones releasing CDs over this past
summer, and a new Less Than Jake
CD on its way.
With five years between CDs, Mus-
tard Plug seems to have stuck to their

original third-wave s
horns, energized guil
bass rhythms. The 1
tracks could have f
into any of their earl
er releases, except f
the more experience
and concise musician
ship. Some listener
may be disappointe
with Yellow 5 - th
once raw, undilute
sound that made Mu
tard Plug so popula
has slightly eroded.
Their experience
mature harmonies1
Gone." Older fans w
though with moref
"Safe and Your Secr
their frantic style. In
try to live up to thec
of ska-punk by att
prominent emotio

BREAKING RECORDS STAR SYSTEM
** * 7 * CLASSIC
* *** GREAT - If you missed a week of
BREAKING RECORDS, check
** * FAIR the archives at
www.michigandaily.com
SUB-PAR
WORTHLESS

acking the more
nal rock genre.

RATING: * * '

RATING: * * *

the michigan daily
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ATTENTION
CLASSIFIED ADVERTISERS:
DUE TO U OF M FALL BREAK. THERE
WILL BE NO CLASSIFIEDS ON OCTO-
BER 14T " d15T", 2002. OUR EARLY
D ADLINES ARE AS FOLLOWS:
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MUST BE PLACED BEFORE 11:30 A.M..

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