Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Rough Guide to Tango Revival [World Music Network, 2009]
You say you like your music constructed, arranged, and what's wrong with Euro? Prove it. As Chris Moss' essay reports and selections demonstrate, Argentina's financial crisis had an upside: an upsurge in Buenos Aires pride embodied in a tango revival that looked to Astor Piazzolla as its fountainhead. But many of the great internationalist's habits and innovations owed Europe, and not all of these bands are Argentinean. Hungarians and Romanians take naturally to a violin-bandoneon sound that's perked up by a little cymbalom; Germans butt in as is their musical wont. Every track here rewards close attention, some require it, and all justify Moss' programmatic notes--do actually convey "romance and rancour," "boom-and-bust," and "urban disaffection" musically. To prove how complex tango has become, a bonus disc showcases the simpler soul of Carlos Gardel, whose death in a plane crash in 1935 sealed his status as tango's first great hero. A-