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March 08, 1991 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-03-08

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ARTS

*'The Michigan Daily
The Dream Academy
A Different Kind of Weather
Reprise
Sometimes one-hit wonders try
to make it again, to recapture the
magic of that one song that was just
fantastic. The Dream Academy cer-
tainly tries, and even more certainly
fails. Their 1984 single, "Life In a
Northern Town," dreamily captures a
mood, swirling the myths of the
'60s with rainy keyboards and a
catchy chorus.
The Academy's latest LP, A
Different Kind of Weather,
desperately attempts with every song
to find the elements that add up to at
least one hit single. They do a fair
cover of John Lennon's "Love."
They use similarly neat sounds from
synthesizers, some more wind and
brass instruments for solos, and
Nick Laird-Clowes' pressing, feeling
vocals. They try Beach Boys'-like
harmonies in "Mercy Killing." They
try displaying obvious social con-
sciousness in "Forest Fire" and
"Lucy September." Unfortunately, it
doesn't work.
The band even resorts to using

Friday, March 8, 1991

Page 5

Daily Fine Arts needs writers with background in
classical music. Are you interested? Telephone
763-0379 and ask for Elizabeth Lenhard

Pink Floyd's David Gilmour as a
producer to create a lush mix. But A
Different Kind of Weather is bland
and tries too hard to be another "Life
In a Northern Town." The best
aspects of the album are the sound
details, which make the similar-
sounding songs stand apart some-
what. "Gaby Says" features a phone
ringing and a fading answering ma-
chine message. "Waterloo" has a
train pulling out and hints of crowd
noises here and there. The sax and
oboe solos also add interesting
touches to songs like "St. Valen-
tine's Day." But details don't save
anything from being boring.
-Annette Petruso
King's X
Faith Hope Love
Atlantic/Megaforce
If you always hated guitar-heavy,
'70s art-rockers like Rush and
Kansas, King's X could easily ap-
pear to be the wolf in (Black)
sheep's clothing: bassist Doug Pin-
nick's fraying mohawk and soulful
Hendrix growl might seem better
suited to a Living Colour video than
to the Lynyrd Skynyrd riffs of

"Moanjam," the blazing centerpiece
from this biracial power trio's third
album, Faith Hope Love.
The way King's X cranks those
jams to an almost speed-metal inten-
sity, though, shows what it is that
makes their approach worthwhile in
the '90s. As the brevity of Faith
Hope Love's 13 songs demonstrates
- 11 are shorter than five minutes,
and the six or seven false endings to
"We Were Born to Be Loved" seem
more of a joke than anything -
King's X have indeed learnt the
lesson that punk dealt to wanking
axe virtuosos: the song parts on "It's
Love," like those in Faith No
More's own breakout video hit
"Epic," are purposefully truncated.
Even more bracing is the audacity
with which Pinnick, guitarist Ty
Tabor, and drummer Jerry Gaskill
wear their old-guard influences on
their sleeve, melding the stunting
crunch of Led Zeppelin, incendiary
Hendrix jazz-metal, and Black Sab-
bath-cum-Anthrax belligerence with
four-on-the-floor Southern rock and
even a slice of Prince - topping it
off with outrageously perfected Sgt

Pepper vocal harmonies.
But the best idea at work in
King's X's music is the realization
that a group of rockers who believe
in Christ could - and in fact ought
to - play music that sounds as radi-
cal as his teachings. Faith Hope
Love's title comes from St. Paul's
first letter to the Corinthians, which
is excerpted at length in the album's
liner notes.
Yet the group's testimonial lyrics
- never once mentioning God by
name - are always subtle. When
Tabor sings, "it's love/ that holds it
all together/ I just had to let you
know," you get the impression he's
talking not as much about romantic
love as the forgiving brand that
forestalls retribution. "It's love,"
continues Tabor, "that's holding
back the weather/and the same will
let it go." Maybe that's not blatant
enough (and the sound isn't wimpy
enough) for the fundamental, born-
again establishment. But that's cool
with King's X; they've consistently
avoided playing on concert bills with
official "Christian rockers." No rock
group has ever made the New
Testament sound as, well, kick as as
King's X does on Faith Hope Love.
- Michael Paul Fischer
Brenda Fassie
Brenda Fassie
SBK records
One of South Africa's most
popular and controversial singers,
Brenda Fassie, crosses overseas and
over an unacceptable borderline of

SUMMER
POSITIONS
AVAILABLE

1w J ' {
O QVI '
'L '^.... ''
" l ss

Summer Residential Counseling for the
College Preparation Program
*Assist 50 high school juniors enrolled in
summer session to have a fUl and successful
experience with higher education.
* Live and study on the Lake Michigan shores for
the summer of 1991.
*Compensation: summer room and board,
salary and expenses, one course tuition
scholarship.
For complete job description and application
information, call Steven Taylor at
1-800-FINDS NU.

The Dream Academy seem to be forever banished to the land of the One-Hit Wonders, along with notables such
as the Knack, ? and the Mysterians, and the late, great Del Shannon.

338 SOUTH STATE STREET, ANN ARBOR 996-9191

e0

NEWJACK CITY

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