Volume 93, Issue 21
Tuesday, October 5, 1999
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Cockburn and Misfits come up big
Breakfast In New Orleans Dinner In Timbuktu
True North Records
Bruce Cockburn is Canada and Canada is Bruce Cockburn.
With all due respect to Stompin' Tom, Don Cherry and any other icons who personify Canada, only Cockburn represents our countries reserved, poetic beauty.
"Heavy northern Autumn sky, mist-hung forest/dark spruce, bright maple/and the great lake rolling forever to the narrow gray beach," sings Bruce Cockburn on his new album, Breakfast in New Orleans Dinner in Timbuktu. It is at lyrical points such as this where images rendered by the Group of Seven may come to the listener.
This is by no means a perfect album, but it is a solid effort from one of Canada's most accomplished performers. Enlisting Colin Linden to help produce and with Margo Timmins and Lucinda Williams singing harmony, Cockburn has crafted a record which will stand the test of time.
The first single, "Last Night Of The World," is a lesson in crafting a lasting pop song, fusing intelligent lyrics and a pleasing melody into an instantly memorable package.
"Isn't That What Friends Are For?" is an understated number which rewards listeners with its subtlety. Cockburn and Timmins tackle the classic "Blueberry Hill" with a bluesy, down-home quality which will quickly win listeners over.
The album suffers from some tracks which are simply too long. "Use Me While You Can," weighing in at over seven minutes, borders on indulgence. Similarly, "Down To The Delta," an instrumental song showcasing Cockburn's guitar prowess, would also benefit from some more editing.
In the end, however, Breakfast in New Orleans Dinner in Timbuktu proves Bruce Cockburn is one of Canada's most important and impressive performers.
The Misfits have no plans of dying anytime soon. In fact, these legendary New Jersey rockers are back in an evil way with their latest release Famous Monsters.
Even after a 13 year break, the band has managed to maintain a certain level of intensity in their music. Their sound, a blend of metal and punk, appeals to everyone from Rob Zombie fans to NOFX listeners.
Over time, a lot has changed for these four leather-clad devil's advocates, including their label. The band left Geffen only a few months after the release of the album American Psycho and subsequently carved a deal with Roadrunner Records, on which this latest effort appears.
Famous Monsters is stuffed with songs of monsters, zombies, vampires and witches. Songs like "Crawling Eye," "Living Hell" and "Dust To Dust" display the Misfits' love of metal while other tracks such as "Helena" and
"Die Monster Die" bring out the band's punk side.
The album's centerpiece is "The Forbidden Zone," which contains a catchy chorus mixed in with great guitar riffs and harmonies.
Unfortunately, the album demonstrates its weakness with songs like "Witch Hunt" and "Scream" which don't exactly excel in the head-banging department.
Famous Monsters doesn't raise the dead, but it proves to be an all around strong album with only a few weak tracks.
From its thrash guitar and choir-like harmonies to its catchy choruses, The Misfits have come out with a release which is undoubtedly worth listening to again and again.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999