Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Tricky: Maxinquaye [Island, 1995]
From Soul II Soul to Massive Attack to Tricky is a straight line leading straight down to a bad place you should take a chance and visit. Depressive, constricted, phantasmagoric, industrial, yet warmly beatwise and swathed in a gauzy glow that promises untold creature comforts, these are the audioramas of someone who's signed on to work for the wages of sin and lived to cash the check. Determinedly Lo-NRG, he's a sad sack with attitude, a complicated malcontent whose cynicism can't quash his capacity for euphoria or rebellion. And though he long ago saw through the willed optimism of black-Brit dance music, he's here to tell you that a dystopia with Martine singing in it has some serious rewards. A+