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April 09, 2004 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-04-09

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, April 9, 2004



Go ahead. Pick out the token characters.

TV favorite returns
in a new DVD set

We would
eat Death
Cab for


Courtesy of Domino Records

By Adam Rottenberg
Daily Arts Editor
I IVaa
Jerry Bruckheimer's "CSI' is the
highest-rated show on television.
Now in its fourth season, the venera-
ble drama returns to DVD with a col-
lection of its third season. Starring
William Peterson __....._..__.__
as Gil Grissom CSI: Season
- the leader of
the forensic Three
investigators - Paramount
every episode
features the team solving murder
cases based solely on the scientific
clues left behind.
"CSI" is a procedural crime drama,
- much in the vein of "Law &
Order" - meaning that each episode
stands alone, making the characters
secondary to the crimes they solve.
This facet of the series is its greatest
strength and its greatest weakness.
There are no season long plot threads,
but a viewer can watch a single show
and still be satisfied.
"CSI: Season Three" is not very dif-
ferent from the first two years, for bet-
ter or worse. Featured characters in the
lab are now regulars, adding more
screen time and a little more humor.
The cases remain riveting and the
trademark stylish camera work - fea-

turing close-ups of key details - and
Las Vegas setting add to the character
of the show.
Thesbright lights of Sin City never
looked better. The disc features beau-
tiful widescreen transfers from
CBS's HDTV broadcasts. The sound
is equally as impressive, offering
Dolby Surround Sound. Like the
first two DVD sets, "CSI: Season
Three" is an example of a quality TV
on DVD release.
The set features a nice array of
extras. There are six episode commen-
taries, mostly by production staffers,
which are informative and interesting.
The requisite featurettes take viewers
into the police station and demonstrate
the special effects. The most interest-
ing extra is an interview with the
show's writers, giving insights into the
brainstorming process behind the
complex murder mysteries.
"CSI" may not be the best show on
television, but it can be incredibly
engrossing. The third season shows no
signs of slowing down. CBS may try
its hardest to kill the series by spread-
ing it out too thin (a second spin-off
debuts this fall), but the original
should be more than enough for fans
of the genre.




By Andrew M. Gaerig
Daily Music Editor
"Every band wants to sound like themselves,
ultimately. That's a cliche of bands being inter-
viewed. They kind-of say, 'Oh, don't pigeon-
hole us, we sound like us' when a lot of them
do sound like other bands," Jason Pegg
observed. The frontman for
British psych-rockers Clear-
lake, Pegg sings and speaks Clearlakel
with such a thick English Saturday, Apr. 10
accent that his band gets At the Majestic
called "really British" in their
home country. "Someone called us a cross
between Ben Folds Five and Coldplay the other
day, which is really insulting to us. I don't
mind them doing their thing, but it's just so
middle of the road for me."
Pegg has a right to be angry - his band's lat-
est album, Cedars, is a monument of translu-
cent guitars, rollicking snare hits, and arcing,
dramatic melodies. The sound is very British -
Pegg's vocals have more than a hint of Morrisey
in them - but Clearlake has very little in com-
mon with most UK acts that hit American

shores. In particular, Pegg's lyrics are severe,
beautifully uneven sketches of his psyche. Pegg,
who sings in a commanding baritone, shares lit-
tle with the lilting, detached presence of singers
like Thom Yorke or Chris Martin.
"I never really intended to write these songs
that were so literal," Pegg explained, "but I
enjoy words, and I end up singing in a style that
sometimes I feel I over-enunciate ... at the
expense of giving information to people and
saying how it is to be alive in the world." Songs
like "The Mind is Evil" and "I'd Like to Hurt
You" seem to peer a little too close into Pegg's
subconscious, but he insisted there is a purpose.
"There is an amount of artistic license. When
you write a song, it's about zooming in and
focusing on one thing. 'The Mind Is Evil' is just
about becoming conscious of the chattering part
of you that gives you a hard time."
Cedars isn't all dark, however. Filled with
stately ballads and tumbling power chords, the
song cycle reflects a wide range of emotions
and sensations. "We're not particularly heavy
psychedelic drug users. It just comes from the
idea of a band going to different places and
hopefully being as cinematic as possible."
Putting together a coherent album is a
demanding task, and Cedars isn't without its

flaws. There are moments that feel slow, overly
aggressive or overly sentimental. Pegg, howev-
er, would rather move forward than revisit past
mistakes. "I knew the stuff that was wrong with
it the moment we ran out of time and submitted
it," Pegg lamented. But he added, "I wouldn't
really change it, because it exists as what it is,
and I'm much happier to move on. Whenever
people talk about remixing stuff it just makes
my blood run cold. I just think, 'Oh, fuck off,
just move on and make another record.' "
So Cedars isn't perfect. It is, however, a cap-
tivating, draining listen, one in which Pegg
questions the emotional stability of both him-
self and the listener. But is it real? Pegg insists
that there are at least shreds of truth in all of
Cedar's songs. Communication -- be it literal
or fabricated - is the ultimate goal. "Some-
times when I don't like other people's music I
don't believe what they're saying," Pegg said.
"At the same time, there are people who make
enormous jumps of artistic license, but they're
very skilled at pulling it off. I want to commu-
nicate to people. And I want other musicians to
communicate to me. I want them to say 'Isn't
the world odd, or isn't the world beautiful, or
isn't the world sad?' I want it to be for a point,


Picture/Sound: ****
Features: ***1


Listless debut lacks dynamics

Emotional songstress
mixes genres on LP

By Evan M-Garvey
Daily Arts Writer

Sparkle is an essential element in almost all
U.K. guitar rock. If a song is an earnest plea to
an unrequited love, the piano must twinkle. If it's
a soaring search for identity,
expect the guitars to clash S
serenely. Snow Patrol, a Snow Patrol
Northern Irish quartet, pro- Final Straw
vides so much shine on Final Universal
Straw one has to wonder if it's
designed to conceal the under-cooked lyrics.
When front-man Gary Lightbody cries, "I'm
broken and colder than her," on "Grazed Knees,"
it's almost too confessional, a type of soggy
meekness that produces little emotional reso-
nance with the listener. Most of the album is
filled with the same bleating and fussy lines.
Other, more powerful Brit-pop acts evoke more

specific, affecting images with their wordplay.
Snow Patrol is content to let images of beaches
and hallways do what little they can.
Final Straw finds some redemption in the
album's often lucid melodies and arrangement.
Celestial whistles rush in at the end of the album
opening "How To Be Dead." "Ways & Means"
has mechanical hisses that mesh well with the
song's nonstop guitars.
Sadly, the album just doesn't have enough of
those guitars. Snow Patrol is content to feast on
pianos and elegant reverb, never seeming to care
that the dearth of guitars drains an essential
chemical from their music. Only occasionally
does the band let the guitars actually crack the
lunar sheen. Even the disintegrations of the
disc's songs share a controlled, astute quality.
Perhaps the double-edged sword of this genre
is while few of the bands are horrid, most of
them fall in a muddled twilight realm. Spreading
identical cascading pianos and starry-eyed vers-
es across a plethora of bands leaves a lush but


empty plain of music. With no vital thrust of
guitars and scrawny lyrics, Final Straw trips on
its own gloss.

Punk veterans 'Souls' stumble on latest release

By Brandon Harig
Daily Arts Writer
To put it simply, had you not read
this sentence, you may never have
heard of the name Carina Round.
Being a relative unknown in the
states, Round's latest album, The Dis-
connection, has received little to no
press. That makes listening to the
album even more of a pleasure; the
album stands alone as a promising
piece in a field of
formulaic and
common releases. Carina
The Disconnec- Round
tion is compelling The
music that Disconnection
embodies varying
emotions, like Interscope
pain, anger, delib-
eration and mulling. The album is a
testament to reflection and analysis,
each song proceeding as if a greater
idea is being confronted. There is no
single sound to identify the album;
driven by Round's vocals, The Dis-
connection is a mixture of jazz, blues
and acoustic rock. Songs like "Motel
74" employ the album's minimal
background vocals and ring through
with the remorse and urgency of a
woman collecting herself in the shad-
ows of a rented room.
Round's vocals, however, are what
make the album a mixing bowl of
music genres and singing approaches.
At times, Round sings with a directed
force comparable to Shirley Manson
of Garbage, while at other times she
yields the eerily similar tone of Fiona
Apple and Natalie Imbruglia. But
Round, in the end, sounds much like a
mixture of all of rock's angry women
on valium - there is a pacificied and
thoughtful capitalization in her words
that makes songs like "Lacuna" sound
both sultry and wary.


By Amos Barshada
Daily Arts Writer

songs like "I Like Your Mom" and
"The Toilet Song," replaced by
songs like "The Day I Turned My
Back On You" and "Anchors
Aweigh." On "Night Train," a pseu-

Everybody's trying to grow up
these days. From Blink 182 to Justin
Timberlake, the music industry is
filled with artists attempting to gain
some more credibility and establish
themselves as "serious" musicians.
On their new album, Anchors
Aweigh, The Bouncing Souls fall
prey to the trend.
On their sixth full length, the
Souls maintain their anthemic, sing-
along sound, but the subject matter
has definitely shifted. Gone are

do power ballad
and, unfortunate-
ly, not a Guns n'
Roses cover,
singer Greg
Attonitoi says
"goodbye to me
and you / good-
bye to the life we
knew," a theme that

runs throughout

drinking beer in the van and trying
to make it to the show on time.
The Bouncing Souls never sought
to make challenging, experimental
music. They've built their whole
career on honest, back-to-basics
punk rock, and with this album they
come through again. The direction
toward a more adult subject matter
does make the songs feel somewhat
contrived, though. Lyrics like
"She's having a change of heart /
Without a word everything falls
apart," on "Better Days," won't get
Attonitoi into the Songwriter's Hall
of Fame, but are well intentioned.
The band has maintained its sound
to the point where the core audi-

ence will definitely not feel alienat-
ed by the new release.
The Bouncing Souls have created
a name for themselves in the
scene,through multiple Warped
Tour appearances and shows with
scene heavy hitters like The Mighty
Mighty Bosstones, NOFX and The
Descendants. This record will only
cement that reputation. It's an ade-
quate batch of pop-punk songs,
played as fast and as hard as ever,
with a reflective outlook on life.
Anchors Aweigh will do little to
convert the critics, but for fans of
the pop-punk genre, there's a lot to
be found in the steady work of
these veterans.

The album's most appealing and
promising song is the aptly titled
"Elegy." Singing "I'm skirting the
rim of reality / Don't pull me in,"
Round sounds a little more hung up
on things than she claimed in stating
that the album is about letting go. It
is this impression of lingering,
whether false or not, which propels
The Disconnection's overall standing
as a compelling piece of introspec-
tion. In refusing to stay within one
genre of music or vocal styling,
Round creates a truly captivating
album that rings with the maturity of
a veteran artist. The album's impor-
tance stands in its potential to be a
capable flagship for female artists,
bringing back to music something
that's not Beyonce, not Avril, not
Christina but, rather, something dis-
connected and compelling.


the album. Attonitoi says goodbye to
everything while pining for the bet-
ter days of his punk rock youth spent


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