Eye discs: May 31, 1995

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Reading Time: 5 minutes

Beastie Boys

Root Down EP

EMI/Grand Royal

They can’t, they won’t, they don’t stop. Milking their fans for money, that is. And that’s what Root Down is: a blatant attempt to make some dough. With absolutely no new material, the EP serves up two different remixes of “Root Down”, as well as the original LP version. If you’re not sick of the song after listening to the album a few times, you should seek help from Beastieholics Anonymous. The rest of the EP is a bunch of live tracks which, at first, sounds promising to any hard-core fan of the Boys. But, the energy level of a Beastie concert is next-to-impossible to reproduce on a CD, and Root Down doesn’t even come close. You’d probably expect to hear the superhyped, frantic speed-rap style of Ad Rock, and the quick-witted improvisations of Mike D. Unfortunately, Root Down provides little of that.

Instead, we’re treated to live versions of classics like “Time for Livin’” and “Heart Attack Man”, which sound the same no matter how they’re played (it’s punk rock for God’s sake!).

The only track where they manage to capture that energy is in the new and improved semi-live, semi-studio remix of “Time to Get Ill”, which you MUST hear. How you’re going to do this without spending ten bucks on the CD is beyond me. If you’re looking for something new from the Beastie Boys, check out their guest shot on Hurricane’s new album, The Hurra..

– Pete Nowak

Paolo

Complete

Mast Music Records

I don’t know what to make of this. Who signed this guy? What language is this in? The songs seem to be lacking any type of musical structure and Paolo’s constant moaning gets very tiring, quickly. The only high point was track number thirteen, “Groovin’ to the Mush Love”. It made me want to get up and boogie.

This album is highly experimental, but without much in the way of instrumentation. While listening to this crap, I thought of a bunch of drunken communists sitting around a bonfire in the dead of winter, ritualistically chanting. And oh yeah, one of them has a guitar. This album would be great for cranking up on Hallowe’en to scare the neighbourhood kids away. Bottom line: as Beavis would say, “hey Butthead, THIS SUCKS!”.

– Adrian Josiukas

Blowseeds

Bobo

Birthmark Records

Music has the power to uplift, to dampen, to completely alter one’s mood. Great music sprouts goosebumps down your spine, puts your stomach through the spin cycle and fills your heart with bliss. Bad music may induce disgust, or perhaps incessant laughing, but it alway sisters an extreme reaction. Mediocre music takes no risks, makes no point and renders the listener lethargic.

Blowseeds are masters of mediocre music; I would say they have a natural flair for it. Musically, they seem to favour only the most limp and uninspiring classic rock guitar tones, both amplified and acoustified, and vocally, only the most impotent singing. 

The album begins with the ingeniously titled “WhatUGonnaDu” which, I’ll admit, has its moments. The next offering is “Inhale”, which features the exquisite use of hand claps, a gimmick I believe was the foundation of 60’s bubblegum music. Then there’s “Crackbaby”, a lilting number that has a close brush with blues and gospel, only to prove in the end that neither had any effect on the songwriter. And “Troy” is reminiscent of They Might Be Giants, minus the wit. My suggestion: if you find this disc in your midst, put it on the table, under a glass of beer. AT least then you’re being practical. 

Andre Mayer

Terence Trent D’Arby 

Vibrator

Sony

Since his 1987 debut Introducing the Headline, Terence Trent D’Arby seems to have received more critical acclaim than airplay. Neither Fish Nor Flesh, released in 1989, proved to be too experimental for most mainstream audiences and 1993’s Symphony or Damn was a huge success in Europe, but didn’t manage to garner as much attention in North America. It looks like that is about to change. With Vibrator, TTD had done a good job of summing up what is happening on the dance charts, incorporating R&B, house and old school funk into a fresh and unique blend. TTD has finally found the middle ground between the radio-friendly pop of hits such as “Wishing Well” and the dark psychedelic funk of “This Side of Love”.

Terence Trent D’Arby not only produced Vibrator, but he played most of the instruments on the album as well. Vibrator is a widely varied and interesting record, including the impressively heavy title track, some very funky acid jazz inspired tunes and a few ballads that would make Motown jealous.

It might take you a while to get used to Vibrator, but it will take you even longer to get tired of it.

– Trevor Shaikin

Steel Pole Bathtub

Scars from Falling Down

Slash Records/ BMI

Post-grunge, pseudo-metal, neo-punk monotony. 

All 11 tracks on this San Francisco-based group’s new CD are completely unremarkable. It seems that Bathtub can’t decide what it wants to be and the music suffers, resulting in a flavorless pastiche.

Scars from Falling Down is full of pointless, sometimes painful electrical guitar caterwauling, bizarre vocal distortions and second-rate imitation rock-poseur atmosphere.

From the opening track “the 500 club”, through the heart of the recording and right up to what at first sounds like a promising closing track which quickly disappoints “Friday”, your reaction to this album will be a resounding, “So what?!”

Don’t bother wasting your hard-earned student-bucks on Steel Pole Bathtub. All you’ll hear is a big sucking sound as they go down the drain.

– Kaleem W. Khan

Rainbow Butt Monkeys

Letters from Chutney

Mefcury/Polydor

With a name like Rainbow Butt Monkeys, how can you go wrong? Lots of ways, including making every song sound identical by playing the same chords over and over. 

There’s nothing really wrong with Letters From Chutney, it’s just that there’s not a whole lot that’s right. Sounding like a cross between Stone Temple Pilots and…well, who knows, the Butt Monkeys should spice up their music before having the gall to put the word “chutney” on their CD cover.

Saleem Khan

Korn

Self titled

Epic

So these guys are being billed as the next “Rage Against the Machine”. Well, a number of bands have had that same label applied to them and we’re still waiting. But, whoever slapped the label on Korn may have been right on the money and the wait may be over.

Korn definitely has the attitude and the raw sound to follow in the footsteps of the Rage-sters, but they are also refreshingly free of the all-too common political commentary which their predecessors helped make trendy.

Instead, Korn sings about all things dark and twisted. You know, addiction to speed, the Black Death of the Middle Ages and other sick shit like that. They combine their Trent Reznor-esque imagery with trashy sounding guitars and a funk-me-to-death bass to produce a disc that makes you want to beat up your grandmother, but then take her to the hospital and make her tea.

Overall, Korn sounds like an amalgamation of Pantera-like aggression, the weirdness of Faith No More and the retro/innovation of Rage Against the Machine. Check this one out kiddies, because if there’s any justice in the music business, the chaps from Korn should be huge soon.

– Pete Nowak

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