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May 08, 2000 - Image 14

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2000-05-08

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14 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, May 8, 2000

'Pama Swod'
~ltsDramas

LIVE PILL THRILLS
Since 1993, the Boise, Idaho trio Built to Spill has
recorded 4 superb albums, each full of shinmering
melodies, oracular lyrics and passages of exquisitely over-
dubbed guitar. "Live" shows that the band - guitarist-
singer Doug Martsch, bassist Brett Nelson, drummer
Scott Plouf and touring member Jim Roth on rhythm gui-
tar - can hold its own on stage as well as in the studio,
stretching songs like "Broken Chairs" and a dead-on cover
of Neil Young's "Cortez the Killer" to epic proportions (19
and 20 minutes, respectively).
Jam-happy listeners will no doubt be pleased with the
traces of Young's finer moments with Crazy Horse or
Television's brand of punk-influenced improv in Built to -
Spill's lengthier guitar workouts. But
as every indie-savvy record buyer
Grade: A- knows, guitar noodling can grow
tiresome faster than that little girl in
Built to Spill the Pepsi ads. Thankfully, Martsch
Live and company think horizontally as
well as vertically. They're not out to CoutesyufWarnertBrotes
Warner Brus. show off their chops so much as how casual, seemingly random blasts of guitar feedback heard
Reviewed by one can be endlessly creative with throughout the album begin to add up to something bril-
Daily Arts Writer feedback and distortion and how liantly dark and shadowy after a few listens.
Christian Hoard exhilarating guitar solos - the kind On "Randy Described Eternities," the darkness is pal-
good live rock music is built on - pable, with Martsch's voice drowning in a wave of distor-
can coexist with well-crafted alterna-rock songs. tion in between eerie spells of low-key noodling.
And, speaking of the songs, they're great. Martsch has Martsch's perfectly plaintive promise to "be perfect from
a gift for burying delightfully catchy (if understated) , now on" finds an apt counterpart the lyrics to the Halo
melodies under quirky guitar flourishes, and his Lian Benders' "Virginia Reel Around the Fountain," treatel
Gallagher-meets-Neil Young vocals sound appropriately here to a 7-minute-long cover. If we're not quite sure what
wistful (and appropriately Neil-like on "Cortez") without - or whom - Martsch is singing about, it's worth noting
ever grating on the ears. Though the charming "Car" is the that we do, in fact, care to find out. And finding out is part
sweetest track on the album, the way its lyrics juxtapose of the reason "Live" is worth listening to: It's an album
the trivial with the somber (Martsch needs a car, his girl chock-full of great guitar workouts that only momentarily
needs some serious help) mirrors the way in which the obscure layers of emotional depth.

Capcon is known for its 2D fight-
ers, but has produced some 3D prod-
uct for variety. The shadow of their
past (read: "Street Fighter") has made
expectations for
the company's
Grade: B- fighters quite
Plasma high. And in
PDsa spite of some
Sword very good gaines
For Dreamcast like Powerstone,
CapCom Capcom has fall-
Reviewed by en short of the
Daily Arts Writer mark in more
Ted Watts than one 3D
fighter.
"Plasma Sword" is a good effort. It
utilizes a traditional Capcom HUD
look, from multi-hit combo counter to
special attack power bar. It then mixes

in some 3D features like a sideways
dodge function and a moving camera.
Unfortunately, the advances found
in most new fighters, or even the
unique innovations of "Powerstone,"
aren't here. The characters are less
than gleaming, the utilization of the Z
axis is minimal for the year 2000 and
there is nothing new in gameplay.
"Plasma Sword" is basically an old
type fighting game with a little more
modeling. Play mechanics mirror
those of 2D fighters and it continues
the story of the game "Star Gladiator."
This should be more than enough for
some people to enjoy the disc. But for
some reason, it falls short as a new 3D
fighter.
If you expect anything earth shat-
tering, you will be disappointed.

GLADIATOR
Continued from Page 12
the Colosseum. the film runs a little too
long, with a noticeable lag in the latter
half resulting from rambling speeches
about power and wickedness regarding
the Macbeth-like desceni of Commodus
rather than real action.
Scott, though, won't let his audience
hang as he sharply builds tension
between the relationships of Commodus

and his torn sister Lucilla (Connie
Nelson). And c'mon, what would a
gladiator film be without one final
climactic battle?
"Gladiator" is an impressive summer
blockbuster - a decent story, solid act-
ing, loud effects and all-out grandness.
Though it's not "Spartacus," it'S definite-
ly a welcome return to the arena as
"Gladiator"is a film that sets the bar
early on in a summer with dinosaurs,
mutants and a big wave yet to come.

nowam -,- n
courtesy of Dreamworks
Joaquin Phoenix In "Gladiator."

It Im

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MISSION
Continued from Page 12
for the soundtrack, consisting mainly
of heavy guitars and Rob's growling
voice. These, as in every other
Zombie tune, are driven by booming
percussion and backed by electronic
noise and group shouts of encour-
agement from an invisible support-
ing cast.
After "Scum of the Earth" come
two impressive tracks from less pop-
ularartists. The first is "They Came
In" by the recently forgotten
Butthole Surfers. "They Came In" is
a blend of guitars and electronically
enhanced instruments and vocals, a
combination which works well for
the band.
The following track, "Rocket
Science" by The Pimps, is a gritty,
fast-paced declaration of indepen-
dence and is a commendable piece of
music from little-known artists.
After starting off with five fairly
good songs, the album falters and
never quite recovers. Tracks from the
Foo Fighters, Chris Cornell and
Buckcherry are uninspired and leave

much to be desired.
Mediocre tracks from under.x-
posed artists like Apartment 26,
Diffuser and Tinfed do little to make
up for the failure of some of the
album's big names.
"Not My Kinda Scene," a
Radiohead-like offering from
Powderfinger, leads the small group
of pleasant tracks that close the
soundtrack. "Carnival," a trippy
melody from Tori Amos, follows and
an instrumental from Brazilian
tarist Heitor Pereira closes.
While "Mission: Impossible 2"
does offer some worthwhile music, it
burns itself out after only 20 minutes
and barely coasts from there.
A few highlights do not fully com-
pensate for the album's failure to
sustain the listener's attention and
boredom may set in well before the
end of the disc. As a result,
Powderfinger, Amos and Pereira@
cheated out of an opportunity to
impress new audiences while main-
stream artists are given even more
publicity.
It's a shame, but sometimes that's
how the music industry works.

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