Volume 93, Issue 14
Wednesday, September 22, 1999
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Guy smiley pulls all the strings
If you pick up this record expecting a fuzzy Muppet game show host, you're in for a serious surprise. Guy Smiley is actually a member of the next generation of great Canadian hardcore bands. This Winnipeg quartet has been touring relentlessly for the last seven years, earning them a reputation as one of the best live shows in the game.
Alkaline attempts to capture their live show energy in the studio a task not easily accomplished. The album as a whole has fast, powerful rhythms and an intense guitar which provides the platform for a surprising level of musicianship.
The mixture of bravado and gravel in Derek Kun's vocals, reminiscent of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones' Dickey Barrett at his hardest, mixes well with fast crunching guitars.
Lyrically, themes of cynicism and bitterness towards interpersonal relationships, exemplified by song titles like "Tightrope" and "Closure" run through the record. But there is also a sense of optimism in this album. Three of the final tracks indulge those looking for support. "The Shows" and "The Kids" both pay tribute to what makes the music and the band what they are the fans. The album ends with a great nationalist tirade about hockey and the end of the Winnipeg Jets.
Overall, Alkaline is a solid effort which should garner the band recognition both in and outside of the hardcore scene.
Computer Controlled 2: Live In California
In a world altogether too populated with the generic, blase electronica/dance/house compilations by the likes of MC Mario and that devil in disguise, Chris Sheppard, it's refreshing to see someone try something new.
Frankie Bones is one of the premiere house DJs and remix artists on the planet. The beauty of his effort, Computer Controlled 2, is that it is pulled from a live set and all the songs on the album are completely his work. Try sticking together a 75 minute live house set of original material which flows like iambic pentameter then the true impressiveness of this album will become painfully clear.
The CD itself starts off slow, a brief intro before hopping straight into pounding bass lines and throbbing samples. Frankie Bones has been DJing since the early '80s and knows how to get a crowd hopping.
This album, however, may not appeal to all audiences because not one is intended to be a hit or a radio friendly single. There are very few sampled vocals or effects. It is intended to flow from start to finish as a straight-up deep house set.
This album probably won't be heard by too many people, but all things considered, it is a worthy effort. The originality in the album's central idea and its butt shaking bass lines make it a solid addition to any house fan's collection. Word of advice play it loud.
Stir of Echoes
This album can easily be discarded into the ever-growing category of dullard, uninspired movie soundtracks.
The film Stir of Echoes, stars Kevin Bacon as the lead character who is hypnotized, then haunted by nightmarish visions. This lacklustre musical offering is almost as scary as seeing Bacon naked in last year's Wild Things.
Only a few bright spots highlight this soundtrack, particularly GOB's offering, "Paint It Black." Although cover songs are a concept usually better left alone, GOB manages to pull this famous Rolling Stones tune off with their characteristic energy and punk style.
Moist puts its signature on the album with "Breathe," the kind of song which is likable the first time you hear it, hated by the fourth replay and forgotten in three months. Tracks by Steve Wynn and Poe are barely worth mentioning, acting as filler for the remainder of the tracks.
The score of the film, which constitutes most of the soundtrack, is composed by James Newton Howard. Soft, spooky orchestral interludes build their way around moments of jarring crescendo and heavy percussion. While this is sure to enhance scenes during the movie, it remains useless in a CD player at home.
This album will place a damper on any party, make it impossible to study and is useless in terms of seduction material.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999