Volume 91, Issue 66

Tuesday, January 27, 1998




Devine celtic sounds, rotten rock music

Various Artists
Sult: Spirit of the Music
Bottom Line/Velvel

The spirit of the music arrives via tin whistles, fiddles, bodrans, celtic aural wanderings and an aged Van Morrison. The album is Sult, a 17-song CD displaying traditional and modern Irish music.

Sult, a celtic word, refers to pleasure or fun. In context, Donal Lunny invited Irish musicians to produce a record celebrating the unveiling of TnaG, a new Irish language television station.

The instrumental and celtic songs on the compilation succeed in creating a warm, rosy-cheeked feeling for listeners, comparable to the flow of draught-poured Guinness beer. Pints of the glorious liquid undoubtedly accompanied the musicians as they recorded their craft at the Temple Bar Music centre in Dublin.

Fast-paced jigs such as "Murphy Tunes" by Sharon Shannon and Laoise Kelly and the brilliant "Rollicking Boys of Tandagree," instantly force a toe-tapping reaction. Slow, harmonic wonderments like "Or—" by M‡ire Brennan and "Siœil a Rœin" by Maighréad N' Dhomhnaill and Iarla O Lionaird soothe the spirit as they bring the beauty of the Celtic language to song.

Contributions from Van Morrison, Paul Brady and Mark Knopfler break up the continuity of the rest of the disc. Did they consider the meaning of the word sult? Their songs are anything but pleasurable; perhaps because they mimicked the liquidity of canned Guinness found outside of its homeland.

With the exception of these three tracks, Sult travels from the gracious land of the green in the form of a delightful, distilled collection of spirits.

–Jordan Mitchell

By Divine Right
All Hail Discordia

"We put the high in high schoolÉ we put the high in high schoolÉ."

With such works of genius as "Rock High" and "I Love Everybody," By Divine Right makes their smash debut on the Canadian music scene. Just kidding. Actually, their new release, All Hail Discordia, isn't even worthy of sarcastic praise. There are no words, secular or otherwise, that can do justice to how bad this band is.

They seem to be aiming for a Sloan/Superfriendz-ish sound, but they miss. Not by miles, but by light years. Think of the worst band you have ever heard. Now imagine what they must have sounded like about a month after they started playing their instruments. They would still be a hundred times better than By Divine Right.

You can practically hear these guys counting under their breath as they play. Calling them simple and repetitive would be an unwarranted compliment. The only thing worse than the stupefying music are the vocals. Alone, it's just exceptionally boring, but Jose Miguel's voice reaches previously uncharted levels of irritation. Most songs are almost imperceptible variations on the wistful, puppy-love theme and wishy-washy antisocial angst.

Somehow though, they were signed with Nettwerk, sharing the label with such diverse and talented artists as Skinny Puppy and Sarah McLachlan. This puzzling development could mean several things: a) somebody's daddy is on Nettwerk's executive; b) this is some sort of hellish nightmare and you'll wake up soon; or c) this is the kind of music many people actually enjoy.

Tragically, the latter will probably prove true. You can say what you want about skillful groups like the Spice Girls, but the fact remains that if the majority of audiences didn't want them, they wouldn't exist. So (shudder) be fully prepared to see All Hail Discordia propel By Divine Right into massive mainstream recognition.

–Sara Falconer

Lisa Stansfield
Lisa Stansfield

Love can make us do crazy things. Just ask Lisa Stansfield, whose recent self-titled CD has been climbing the music charts. Her songs challenge the realities of love and prove she's not going to settle for losing her man.

Like a younger Diana King, Stansfield's ballads range from fast-paced dance beats such as "Never Gonna Fall," to slower jazz-oriented tunes like "I'm Leavin." The CD manages to draw you in, as the listner tries to understand her evident problems with love. "Suzanne" hints at abuse with lyrics like, "My favourite colour is green – not black and blue." The track "Honest" shows Stansfield is not as strong as she wants to be, saying, "You've got me down on my knees."

With a CD for less than $20, including two bonus tracks and the inspiration to dance, Stansfield will be yet another artist to watch for in the future. In fact, don't be surprised by a Boyz II Men cover of "Don't Cry For Me" when the boys run out of lyrics. And as long as men are free to roam the earth, Lisa Stansfield won't have a shortage of songwriting material.

–Tara Dermastja

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazent@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1998