Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

B-52's: With the Wild Crowd! [Eagle, 2011]
In which Fred Schneider, of all people, proves himself new wave's premier vocal muscleman--a not-quite-swish 59-year-old cartoon powering the resurgent arena-pop of his 34-year-old band in Athens GA's 2500-capacity Classic Center. Kate and Cindy have also been working out since the combo unleashed their best album in 25 years in 2008. Nor is their first in-concert album undercut by the nine tracks it shares with their best-of or the five it shares with their comeback, because it's bigger than either. The still tacky, no longer little dance band always wanted to be vulgar but were too arty to take it all the way. Now they have, and it suits them. As so rarely happens with live recordings, they've never sounded more alive. A-