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November 10, 2004 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-11-10

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 9

Everclear's 'Years' should not be relived

By Mary Catherine Finney
For the Daily

Music REiErW
There is something ironic about
the title of Everclear's new compila-
tion CD, Ten Years Gone: The Best of
Everclear 1994-2004. For Everclear,
those 10 years are gone with appar-
ently very little to
show for it. It is
surprising to see Everclear
a greatest hits CD Ten Years Gone:
from a band that The Best of
made its name by Everclear
releasing virtual- Capitol
ly the same song
over and over
again on the radio with new lyrics.
Perhaps because the majority of the
tracks on Ten Years Gone are drawn
from two albums that the sound of
this record is homogenous, it is dif-
ficult to tell one track from the pre-
vious four. Two of their bigger hits,
"I Will Buy You a New Life" and
"Father of Mine," are nearly indis-
tinguishable from one another. The
most advanced guitar playing never
seems to exceed a simple four-chord
progression and on "Santa Monica,"
they only utilize two.
"A.M. Radio" is a horrible, overpro-
duced song that samples Jean Knight's
Motown hit "Mr. Big Stuff," complete
with cheesy spoken interludes and
an overwhelming barrage of sound
effects referring to the "good ol' days"
of TV and music back in the '70s.

I don't think you're ready for this Jelly ...
Covenant misses out
on being miraculous

Couresy ofCapiol

We tried to buy new lives, it didn't work.

The trend of unimaginative remakes
continues with their lackluster covers
of "The Boys are Back in Town" and
"Brown Eyed Girl." Even for a grunge
band, their lack of musical variety is
astounding and their range doesn't
seem to extend beyond a staple of dis-

torted power chords. to one another, generating 80-minutes
While Everclear may have been of monotony. For the diehard Ever-
able to pull the wool over the listener's clear fan, this may be the place to get
eyes when their songs were initially all of your favorites on one disc. But
released, this album only serves to for the rest of us, the occasional Ever-
highlight their lack of creativity and clear song on the radio will more than
growth by placing their hits adjacent suffice.

Leningrad inconsistent on 'Black Eskimo' LP

By Lloyd Cargo
Daily Arts Writer
Music REViEW *
Montreal's Les Georges Leningrad
is not the average band. The band
cites influences such as The Resi-
dents, The Sun City Girls, Pere Ubu
and The Slits without sounding like
any of them. Their off-kilter sound
has been described as art terrorism by
some, foolish and stupid by others and
as "petrochemical rock" by the band
' itself. Whereas their chaotic sound
paid off on their 2002 debut Deux Hot
Dogs Moutarde Chou, it quickly gets

tired on this year's follow-up Sur Les
Traces De Black Eskimo.
The first track, "Missing Gary," is
representative of most of the album.
It's a nonsensical
half-skit, half-
song about a band Les Georges
member who Leningrad
won't let anyone Sur Les Traces De
else drive the tour Black Eskimo
van. Les Georges Alien 8
Leningrad's sense
of humor, how-
ever, isn't the downfall of neither the
song, nor the album; it's the over-
powering barrage of bass and lack of
variation. The cluttered approach that

worked to the band's advantage on
its debut is sorely missed this time.
Perhaps it was the loss of a member
since the debut that's made the lack
of musical ideas more apparent.
That's not to say there aren't a few
standout tracks on the album. "Supa
Doopa" is more straightforward
than Les Georges Leningrad's usual
take on post-punk. It has a driving
rhythm and buzzing bass carried over
the top by the shouts of lead singer
Poney P, whose vocals sound like the
Yeah Yeah Yeah's Karen O freaking
out. "Fifi F." strays from post-punk
and leans more toward hard disco
with a steady four-on-the-floor beat

reminiscent of Georgio Moroder.
The last track on the album, "Com-
ment Te Dire Adieu?" is what the
band should've been going for all
along. The song is dissonant as well
as rhythmic, and the distorted xylo-
phone riff makes the song a lot more
accessible. It's one of the few tracks
on the album worth revisiting.
Unlike "Comment Te Dire Adieu?"
the second song, "Sponsorships,"
should never be heard again. The
song features the same bass-heavy
repetitive riffing that plagues "Miss-
ing Gary." Coupled with the unintel-
ligible vocals, makes "Sponsorships"
the worst song on Sur Les Traces Des
Black Eskimo. Contending with it for
that undesirable title is "Wunderkind
#2." Amateurish guitar riffing and
the same distorted repeated keyboard
line make this two-and-a-half-minute
track feel like 20. Not quite as bad
as those two songs, but terrible in its
own right, is "Umiarjuaq." "Wunder-
kind #2" is just some ambient noise
that's about a minute-and-a-half
too long. The last thing this albums
needs is another boring, repetitive
and unmemorable track to weigh it
down.
The tracks that worked on this
album experimented with song struc-
ture. Les Georges Leningrad makes
difficult music, and without some
varied angles of attack the songs fall
flat. It doesn't help that band mem-
bers have yet to hone their chops,
making it hard for them to fully take
advantage of their musical ambition.
They could take a lesson from their
boundary-pushing Alien 8 label-
mates. The Unicorns, who combine a
care-free approach to song structure
with the musical ability to push the
limits of pop.
For those who enjoy un-self con-
scious post-punk with a sense of
humor, Sur Les Traces De Black
Eskimo is a challenging affair that's
worth .hearing at least once. Les
George Leningrad have got a good
thing going; it's a real shame the band
couldn't put together an entire album
as consistently interesting as the few
standout tracks.

By Brian Stephens
Daily Arts Writer
VIDEOGA MEREVIEW
The opening of "Shadow Hearts:
Covenant" begins with armed German
soldiers congregating within the con-
fines of a small cathedral in the French
village of Domremy. The stained glass
depicting the Holy Cross suddenly shat-
ters above them and a winged demon
emerges. It descends upon the scream-
ing soldiers, pouncing from one kill to
the next with feral
quickness. In one
brief moment, the Shadow
demon picks up a Hearts:
soldier and hurls Covenant
him toward the PS2
church door; all the
while, the sorrow- Midway
ful-looking statue
of the Virgin Mary gazes upon the car-
nage with merciful eyes. The screen
slowly turns white and a young man is
standing where the monster should be.
This action-packed prelude to "Shadow
Hearts" isn't just eye candy; it is a kind
of visual poetry rarely captured in role-
playing games.
It is soon revealed that the monster
terrorizing Domremy is really Yuri,
the main character of the game. Yuri,
is capable of metamorphosing into a
variety of creatures in combat: devils,
elementals and yes, even angels. Set
at the beginning of World War I, Yuri
travels all over Europe in an attempt to
find a cure for the powerful curse that
has been placed upon his soul. Dur-
ing his adventures, he is followed by a
ragtag team of interesting characters,
including a burnt-out puppeteer and a
professional wrestler that happens to be
a vampire.
The battle system is representative of
most role-playing games except with a
minor twist. A player's success in com-
bat is gauged upon his ability to strike
the shaded areas on the "Judgment
Ring." If the gamer strikes it, he makes
contact. Strike the harder-to-reach
areas, the character hits harder. If the
player misses shaded areas completely,

then the hero doesn't hit the opponent at
all for that turn. This approach to com-
bat gives the game a very steep learn-
ing curve. There is also a combo system
in which players can perform chain-
attacks; if completed successfully, then
the last character in the combo will have
the opportunity to use "Combo Magic"
- a subset of high-damage offensive
spells.
It should come as no surprise that
"Shadow Hearts" utilizes the analog
joystick making the controls very simi-
lar to other RPG's on the market. How-
ever, while the game's music is adequate
and on cue, the soundtrack certainly
won't achieve record sales. Invariably,
the music simply doesn't possess the
kind of "wow" factor found in the "Final
Fantasy" series and other RPGs.
What holds "Shadow Hearts" back
from true greatness is its casual, lacka-
daisical approach to storytelling. Often,
the writers seem so preoccupied with
making players laugh through the
game's witty dialogue that the storyline
often seems to lack any sort of depth.
For example, in order to improve a par-
ticular character's weapon, a kind of
currency is demanded. He refuses to do
any work until the player finds him foil-
covered cards emblazoned with mus-
cular, scantily-clad men. This kind of
humor becomes distracting when done
ad nauseam.
A significant portion of playing time
is devoted solely to solving puzzles. In
one part of the game, the player is given
a crash-course on the Russian alphabet
for the sole purpose of solving a rather
tedious puzzle. Completing the puzzle
correctly causes the steel gates to be
lifted and allowing the gamer entry into
other areas. The problem with this is
an aesthetic one: If the main character
has the capability to turn into a winged,
10-foot demon and can single-handedly
bring down an entire airship, why can't
he simply unhinge the steel gate with a
flex of his power? Again, it seems the
writers of "Shadow Hearts" do not take
the art of storytelling and continuity
seriously. Despite its flaws, "Shadow
Hearts" triumphs in being an addictive
and visually stunning game.
NEW LINE CINEMA
and
invite you and a guest to
attend an advance screening
of
AFTER TH SUNSET
For your chance to see the
film, stop by The Michigan
Daily's office at 420
Maynard St.
NN rchase Neossary;
While supplies last, limit one per persot
OPENS FRIDAY NOVEMBER 12, 2004

Do you have a unique catchy look to be a MODEL?
Talent R US representatives would like to meet you
on campus - Sunday November 14th in the Union from 11:30am-3pm
Talent R US will hold an open casting call for a chance to feature in the nationally distributed Amtex
Spring 2005 Sportswear Catalog
Mngg y s . Casting call will take place in the Union on Sunday 11/14 from 11:30am until 3pm.
" Selected models will be compensated a flat $200 for a two hour photo shoot.
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