Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Living Things: Habeas Corpus [Jive, 2009]
Five years after this St. Louis brother band dropped their bomb, they drop their follow-up, and somehow--though kneejerk revolutionary Lillian Berlin has since had two kids with the director of his first video--they're still true believers in the cleansing if not excoriating power of rock and roll. Leading their theoretical followers into the streets in "Brass Knuckles" only to pine for "the good life" in "Mercedes Marxist," they aim for a higher consistency: a collective grandeur that evokes AOR and punk simultaneously. Their retro is familiar in outline even though you can't name a single band who sound like them. Well, maybe the MC5 a little. But Rob Tyner was a blues-stud wannabe. Lillian murmurs his provocations from within a chorale. A-