Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

AFI: December Underground [Interscope, 2006]
Never let it be said that the youth of America can't recognize quality. These guys are spectacularly expert--with their dybbuk-or-angel vocal switchoffs, compulsive tempo shifts, dramatic dynamics, and multiple melodic and rhythmic elements, they're as exhausting to listen to as Stan Kenton, and with almost as much insight into the human heart. They predicate their worldview on their inability to win the love of Lara Croft, who led them on in a summer romance they now realize was an amoral farrago of lies and deception. So they consign her to many different hells, from ordinary suicide to my favorite: "Watch the stars turn you to nothing." And she thought she was so great. C+