Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Handsome Family: Last Days of Wonder [Carrot Top, 2006]
At her best--which must not come easy, or they'd release more and more consistent albums--Rennie Sparks is a great American realist. Who can resist a recollection that begins, "I can see you standing there in your grass-stained underwear," or deny her twin visions of existential displacement in airports? But when you have to struggle to realize that "Our Blue Sky" is a global-warming warning that belongs on television, is the problem really the writing, or eternally impassive Brett Sparks feeling more depressed than usual? My theory is that when his wife hits one good, his voice gets lifted. A-