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March 27, 2007 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2007-03-27

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8 - Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Walking
the pop-
punk line
SHADES OF THE CLASH
CAN'T HIDE THE HIPPY
By MATT EMERY
DailyArts Writer
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists have always
walked the line of pop punk with respect and
care, blending their back-
grounds of R&B and soul with
Leo's highly literate lyrics to **
create a sound that is both
catchy and thoughtful. Leo's Ted Leo
trademarked scorching gui-
tar riffs and soothing falsetto and the
madeHeartsofOak (2003) and Pharmacists
Shake the Sheets (2004) quiet
top-fivers in critics' year-end Living With
picks. Now the group returns the Living
with their fourth full-length Tsuch and Gs
album Living with the Liv-
ing, which emphasizes Leo's
political message more than previous efforts
but still incorporates the group's addictive gui-
tar work and pop structures.
Living with the Living is a marathon - nearly
one hour in length - making it much longer
than any prior album from the group. A num-
ber of songs signal identity crisis. "Annuncia-
tion Day/Born on Christmas Day" is a short,

'Tiger' looking fine
on Nintendo's Wii

Courtesy of Touch and Go

Solid albums do not a tood hairdo make.
mind-numbing track, essentially just a shot at
the government that sounds like a bad b-side at
best. "A Bottle of Buckie" is a joyous and melodic
country-esque tune that bizarrely places a jovial
Celtic flute riff amongst Leo's varied rants about
the "bullshit government" and bombings.
Though he has always been a man of political
awareness, incorporating subtle, activist lyrics'
in his tracks, Living takes Leo's sentiments a bit
too far. "Bomb.Repeat.Bomb" is by far the most
hardcore song the band has ever attempted, as
Leo laments on the depressing, post-Orwellian
modern world. A cyclone of loud guitar meets
Leo's vocals as he ditches his pleasing falsetto
in favor of a grating and angry tone, "And when
the crying starts / You won't have to see the
bloodshot eyes turn red / And when the dying
starts / You won't have to know a thing about
whose dead." Though the song is injected with
passion, Leo is much better off staying with his
love songs and subtle attacks on the government
as opposed to brazen slams.
A track like "Colleen" exhibits all of what's
right and wrong about Living. Inside is a deep-
seeded punk edge itching to poke its head out,
but sadly, it never truly shows. This still doesn't
take away from the addictive and repetitive gui-
tar licks that have come to be Leo and Crew's

trademark. The chorus is ripe with melody, but
the first few lines don't do much for its overall
appeal, "Colleen, never to be crowned queen /
Never an evergreen / Floating above the scene
/ As still as a figurine." The track closes with
hard, pounding guitar riffs, but never pushes
itself into the realm of authentic and visceral
punk.
Despite "Bomb.Repeat.Bomb," Leo's voice
is still top-notch. "The Last Brigade" sees Leo
hitting highs and lows with ease as he fades
into a marathon of singing, "Every little mem-
ory, every little memory has a song." "La Costa
Brava" is propelled almost solelyonvocals alone
and mines similar territory to an early Goo Goo
Dolls track, with its generic and utterly boring
structure and concepts.
Though there are certain shades of the Clash
in some songs, Leo can't shed the pseudo-hip-
pie image that goes along with his pop-punk
reputation. Maybe it's because he's a vegan.
Maybe it's because he does awkward AOL inter-
views. Maybe he's just not meant to be a punk.
Punk may be dead, but Leo shows that pop-
punk is alive and well. It is the sub-genre that
has defined his career and in the case of Living,
proves too confining for his expanding lyrical
ambitions.

By MICHAEL PASSMAN
Daily TV/New Media Editor
When the Nintendo Wii was
released this past November, it
became clear
certain games
would translate ****
better than oth-
ers to the Wii's Tiger
motion-sensitive W
control scheme. WOOdS
The golf portion PGA Tour
of "Wii Sports"
- which comes 07
bundled with the
Wii - hinted at EA Sports
the possibilities Nintendo Wii
of a breakthrough
golf experience
on the Wii, but control issues and
its overall brevity limited it to little
more than a mini-game.
Enter "Tiger Woods PGA Tour
07" for the Wii. As the preeminent
golf videogame from EA Sports,
the "Tiger" franchise was destined
to be a system seller for the Wii.
While almost all other relevant golf
games are cartoonish fantasies,
"Tiger" features actual golf pros,
authentic courses and sponsored
equipment - it's a game golf enthu-
siasts can appreciate.
And by and large, the initial
"Tiger" outing on Wii is a success.
The Wii's controls allow players to
grip their Wii Remote like a club
and swing away. The days of pull-
ing and pushing an analog stick are
gone and seem archaic by the Wii's
new standard.
The controls are not perfect.
Unlike golf in "Wii Sports" which
features 1-to-1controls where every
articulation of the Wii Remote is
translated on-screen, "Tiger" reg-
isters movements from the con-
troller but not in a 1-to-1 manner.
Instead, bringing the controller
backward begins and completes
the player's backswing; regardless
if the controller is brought back
all the way. Controller speed and
direction is translated by the sys-
tem, but once the on-screen char-
acter completes their backswing it's
impossible to strike the ball at less
than 75 percent. The only way to hit
the ball lightly is to quickly swing
the controller forward during the
onscreen olaver's backswine. It's a

little awkward at first, but it can be
mastered within a few rounds
In addition to the basic swing
mechanics, the angle with which
the controller is held and manipu-
lated during the swing results in
hooks and slices in the game. If
you have a natural slice in real life,
chances are you will in the game,
too, but it can be counteracted rela-
tively easily.
Like other "Tiger" games, ball
spin can be applied while the ball
is in the air. To do this on the Wii
you simply select the spin direc-
tion you want on the d-pad and
shake the controller. It's definitely
not the most realistic aspect of the
game, but it allows players to cor-
rect errant shots.
While putting was an issue with
"Wii Sports" golf, it's a breeze in
"Tiger." Practice swings allow the
player to gauge the power neces-
sary for sinking a shot and breaks
in the green are clearly displayed.
As far as game modes go, "Tiger"
has a lot to offer. Everything from
a full-on PGA Tour mode with a
custom character, to quick 9-hole
rounds and arcade games involv-
ing shooting balls through hoops is
included. The only thing the game
is missing is online play - but so is
every other Wii game to date.
Visually the game is far from
pretty and appears to be a straight
port from the previously released
Kids, hold
on to'those
controllers.
Gamecube version of the game. But
after a few minutes of play, gainers
won't notice the poor graphics at all.
The gameplay is so immersive and
just plain fun that the dated visuals
won't even cross your mind.
Ultimately that's the beauty of
the Wii and "Tiger Woods PGA
Tour 07;" the gameplay is a blast.
The controls may not be perfect
and the graphics may be unstylish,
but you will not find a game as fun
as "Tiger 07" on Wii.

No identity, meaningful lyrics in t

By DAVE MEKELBURG
Daily Arts Writer
Scottish band Idlewild's new
album Make Another World is a
frantic piece of
art without fun,
energy or distinc-
tion. The album
is simply bland Idlewild
music you'd nei-
ther want to blast Make Another
from your car nor World
snuggle with on a Sanctuary
cold night.
Idlewild seem
to struggle forming an identity. If
this were a debut album, there may
be hope for producingsomething of
quality further down the line, but
Idlewild have been kicking around
the U.K. since 1995.

One major factor drawing fans
to '80s Scottish acts like Big Coun-
try and The Proclaimers were their
heavily accented vocals. Idlewild
tries to break this mold of success-
ful Scotsmen by parading around
as an American rock group. On the
track "You and I Are Both Away"
the Scottish accents at the begin-
ning are only a tease - once the
guitars step in, so do the American
accents.
The opening song "In Competi-
tion for the Worst Time" tries to
channel the alt-rock vibes of bands
like Modest Mouse and Interpol.
Staccato guitar melds with monoto-
nous, electronically modified vocals
from lead singer Roddy Woomble.
Idlewild's nonsensical lyrics fail
to reach an ounce sincerity. Modest
Mouse's songs. Instead, Idlewild's

attempts at depth are often incom-
prehensible. "Ghost in the Arcade"
offers the meaningless refrain "Let
me shout out your name / There's
a ghost in the arcade / There's a
ghost in the arcade." Whether or
not that's an allusion to The Police's
classic album Ghost in the Machine
is unclear - just like the album.
While the band's lack of iden-
tity holds it back from creating any-
thing truly worthwhile, there are a
couple tracks that provide a glim-
mer of hope in the muddled sea of
Make Another World. Idlewild pro-
vide a catchy, Brit-pop track in "No
Emotion." Racing guitars from Rod
Jones and Allan Stewart compete
with lightning fast "whoa oh oh"
background vocals. The end result
doesn't compare to the best of Brit-
pop, but it does provide a nice touch

his 'World'
of excitement to an otherwise
boring album. The song "Future
Works" is from a completely alter-
nate musical universe, sounding
more like Oasis crossed with Josh-
ua Tree-era U2. Instead of upbeat,
danceable pop, "Future Works" is a
slow and steady ballad. There's no
real crescendo or buildup in here,
but there's something calming and
hypnotic about the structure. The
lyrics are complex, but vapid: "One
goes to heaven / One goes to hell
/ Like a national myth that is all
around me."
Ultimately there are two diver-
gent tones on the album: the recent
indie-rock renaissance and mid-
'90s Brit-pop. In them, Idlewild
completely bury their identity in a
swath of bland attempts to be like
other bands.

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