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January 23, 1991 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1991-01-23

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Page 8- The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 23, 1991

Buffalo Tom
Birdbrain
Beggars Banquet
For those obsessed with all things
Dinosaur, this album is a necessity.
Now that J Mascis has taken a break
from the joyous screaming and
strumming known as performing, he
has moved on to producing. One of
the groups lucky enough to benefit
from this twistedly-inspired musi-
cian's guidance is Buffalo Tom.
Mascis produced Birdbrain with
Sean Slade as well as the members
of the group.
As with Buffalo Tom's epony-
mous debut release, Mascis' influ-
ence on this album is unmistakable.
But Tom Maginnis, Bill Janovitz and
Chris Colburn don't rely too much
on what's been done before to sell
their sound -- at least not what's
been done befofe by other groups.'
While the melodies of Birdbrain
sound more like an extension of Buf-
falo Tom rather than an entirely new
album, the group has forsaken the
easy route of cloning their pro-
ducer's power trio and opted for a
more distinctive sound which works
at times and falters at others.
While there is nothing
comparable to Buffalo Tom's pride
and joy "Walk Away" on this album,

there are other guitar-driven
wonderments -- most notably
"Directive" and the title track. There
is also a heavy dose of inane lyrics
which, luckily, are muffled by the
bass/guitar din.
Oh, yeah. And the acoustic stuff.
As a "bonus," the compact disc con-
tains two acoustic tracks - a cover
of thePsychedelic Furs "Heaven"
and a re-make of "Reason Why"
from Buffalo Tom. While both ex-
ceed the musical quality of Phil
Collins' new version of "In the Air
Tonight," and "Heaven" is even a bit
infectious, the songs are much more
reminiscent of the mellower side of
G 'N R Lies than of anything truly
innovative.
But everyone has their low mo-
ments. Buffalo Tom, even at their
weakest, are better than the majority
of what masquerades as rock music
these days. While Mascis may be the
name that gets them noticed, this
band's talent will carry them out of
Dinosaur's shadow and into their
own power-fuzz notoriety.
-Kristin Palm
Front Line Assembly
Caustic Grip
Wax Trax!
Front Line Assembly is the

epitome of hardcore industrial music.
Dark, brooding, complex and above
all, intense, this is the speed metal
of the synthesizer and sampler world.
The attraction of this style is its
complexity and unpredictability; any
one of the dozens of different sounds
in a given song may pop up just
once and then never reappear. The
downside of FLA is that because
their music is totally programmed,
all spontaneity is lost and the music
often sounds too rigid. When they
play live, FLA can sound exactly
like the record if they so choose.
In short, this is the type of stuff
that people either love or hate
(although.it does have that "grow on
you" tendency), and as such, I am
not going to try to convince some
classic rock purist that this is where
it's at. If you hate industrial, chances
are you'll"hate this record. If you
like it, read on.
As mentioned, FLA is extremely
harsh. Like Skinny Puppy, this is
stuff that usually has to be taken in
small doses--otherwise, the listener
would either go out and kill
someone or become horribly de-
pressed or both. Nonetheless, Caus-
tic Grip is slightly toned down from
earlier FLA records; there are even a
couple of songs with melody here,
hummable melodies, no less. But
the bulk of the songs continue in the
same sci-fi - horror movie vein.
Of the ten songs on the disc,
"Iceolate". is by far the best. Using
the typical FLA approach but adding
a catchy synth line and an almost
danceable beat, this may be the best
song these guys have done yet. An-
other notable track is "Provision,"
which one can almost sing along
with, providing one would want to
sing about controlling minds and
stealing dreams, etc.
As expected, the lyrical subject
matter is typically depressing,
dealing with such topics as death and
destruction. These lyrics are delivered
in a very low monotone which rarely

Hipper-than-thou guitar band Buffalo Tom are looking pretty hip here, especially the guy in the middle, who is so -
hip that he won't even look into the camera when he is posing for a publicity shot. But are they hipper than drivin' r,
cryin' (below left)? You be the judge.

shows any emotion other than anger.
Along with the computerized music,
I imagine FLA is making some
statement about the dehumanization
we feel in this - you guessed it
industrial age. There are a few
exceptions to this bleak rule,
however, such as "Threshold," which
finds the vocals sounding
surprisingly (dare I say it?) soulful.
Overall, Caustic Grip isn't very
different than earlier FLA records,
which is how their fans would
probably prefer it. Noncheless, there
are some hints of musical growth
and development, which show the
band to be more than a bunch of
tech-heads. Not bad at all.
-Mike Molitor
drivin' n' cryin'
Fly Me Courageous
Island

I live in a dream world. In that
paradise, there is no such thing as
bad music. Bob Mould is welcome
there anytime. Dave Pirner can come
over on his good days, and Kirk
Hammet and J Mascis can visit when
the notion of peace and quiet is the
furthest thing from my mind. The
Patti Smith Group will be there too,
of course, as will another, lesser
known band who will hopefully
never brush so close to fame that
they lose their, ahem, spines (see
Sting, Westerberg).
That band is drivin' n' cryin',
previously three men and now four
who have put together a whole series
of power chords that result in pure,
untamed energy. While drivin' n'
cryin"s 1987 release, Whisper'
Tames the Lion, at times provoked

All rgnt. I hat Bufalo Tom guy was pretty hip. But see how the members of
drivin' n' cryin' are holding their heads at such unconventional angles? Do
they all have neck problems? Hell no. They're just damn cool.

EVE
Continued from Page 7
podge of our repressed cultural
unconscious, drawing from a literary
tradition that's manifested itself into
film and from the seemingly horrific,
exploration of the possibilities of
woman without Superego -
unbridled sexuality and violence.
The story is simple, the script
drawn not only from the horror
tradition but also from clich6s of
patriotism, freedom, the American
armed forces and female sexuality.
Dr. Eve Simmons (Renee
Soutendijk), working for the U.S.

government, has created the best
android to date. It is a female model,
Eve 8, which can pass for human
while maintaining astounding
military capabilities. Coincidentally,
for reasons presumably scientific
and philosophic, Eve 8 has been
patterned after her maker, thus
providing Soutendijk with the stun-
ning theatrical opportunity to play
two characters in one movie.
Perhaps Eve's individual ideol-
ogy can't be held culpable for its
assertions because it taps into the
male fantasy of the female mind as
consistently acted out in films and
books - namely, that every woman

secretly wants to be a whore, inhib-
ited only by complex social and psy-
chological repression. Inevitably,
Eve 8's liberation is marked by a
come-hither red leather jacket, a
tighter-than-paint black dress and
some ammo for her gun.
Eve 8's first stop in her pre-men-
strual rampage is a sleazy motel in
Northern California. In a film with
countless casualties and death via
semi-automatic gun, the only
weapons that put a character down
for the count are Eve 8's teeth. In
Eve's attempts to wax psychologic,
Eve 8's memory implant consists of
Dr. Simmons' most repressed mem-
ories, which include a Freudian
aversion to the word "bitch." To

complete the female revenge theme,
Eve punishes man in the most vul-
nerable of areas: the sound effects of
her pearly whites coming together at
the uppermost point of her victim's
"big surprise" are indeed chilling. Is
castration a cliche, or a valid fear? In
this case, it seems a blatant male'
projection of the idea that all women
would castrate men if only they
could act out their hidden desires.
"I think she may be acting out a
fantasy of mine," muses Dr. Sim-
mons. To be a whore? Summing up
the psychological depth of the sce-
nario, military hit man Jim McQuade
(Gregory Hines) analyzes, "So this
device of yours is horny as well as
psychopathic." The rest of the movie

dramatizes Eve 8's journey back
through the men in Dr. Simmons'
life - her abusive father, her ex-
husband and her son.
At points, one wonders about the
self-awareness of the film (or lack
thereof) and the audience it's hoping
to tap into, which, in my case, in-
cluded a three-year old boy. At
points, Eve seems aware of its own
devices, though never apologizes for
their misappropriation. Some se-
quences are meant to be comical,
which gives one pause about the rest
of the movie. Are we seeing a spoof
on misogyny, or a sure-fire way to
make money?
The filmic quality of Eve of De-
struction depends on whether you

musings as to whether this band was
taking the (gasp!) pop route, Fly Me
Courageous has put such evil
thoughts to rest. It rocks hard and
Southern-like, putting Kevn Kinney O
and his crew just a step below the
Stones in my little Nirvana.
There are periods of slickness on
this album, but they are well-hidden.
There are moments when the guys
sound like the Black Crowes, but
hey, they were here first. There are
times when it mellows out, but lis-
teners sometimes need a breather.
Scarred but Smarter was a great
work by drivin' n' cryin'. Fly Me
Courageous draws on that epiphany
and results in another keeper that
shakes and rattles in all the right
places.
--Kristin Palm
seek parody or messiah. The scril
including Dr. Simmons' complete
explanation of the reproductive body
parts to her young son, is entertain
ing along the same lines as the
Christian Broadcasting Network
game show to raise money for evani
gelism. To invoke a popular bumper-,
sticker, "Make Dance, Not Fim"
goes to Hines for his anti-Oscar per-,
formance, and Soutendijk is twice as
bad considering her double role.
Pathetically, Eve's significance..
lies in its indicator of our values as*
culture. Woman-as-Schwarzenegga
(homage to The Terminator) shows
that we still fear female sexuality
and desire enough to dramatize its
release, calling on po less than the
United States Army to stop it (after,
of course, having created it).
EVE OF DESTRUCTION is being
shown at Showcase and Fox Village.
Daily Arts as a new
Dept., Fine Arts covering
Classical Music and Art
interested in writing for it?
telephone 763-0379

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'4
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