Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Wide Right: Wide Right [Poptop, 2003]
Poptop as in beer, not music. Leah Archibald runs a rock band, Jim, as down-the-middle as Mellencamp or the Iron City Houserockers. Straight-speaking voice-guitar-bass-drums is her native language, so ingrained she'd fit right in on a stoner comp if she had a touch of flash. But Wide Right don't or can't preen. They serve up none of the virtuoso macho that make down-the-middle rock fans feel better about their prospects. Some longhaired bozo vaunting his wanderlust over these arrangements would be worse than a bore. Archibald gets over by singing as who she is: a Rust Belt mom who rocks in her spare time and writes fierce breakup songs to a fickle drummer and a jerk at work. She appreciates the simple things. Foremost among them is this generic music that when you think about it is unique in history. A-