Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Adam and the Ants: Kings of the Wild Frontier [Epic, 1980]
This isn't rock and roll, sez here--it's "sexmusic," a/k/a "antmusic," heralding Arapaho (Apache) (Kiowa) (pirate) warrior ideals as a futuristic reaction against Brit-punk nihilism. The scam has whole subcultures working for it in England, but here it's the sex and the music that'll determine whether Adam is David Bowie or Marc Bolan (or Gary Glitter). The sex is your basic line-drawings-of-spike-heels stuff, redolent of Sex, the haberdashery once owned by Adam's ex-manager. The music, needless to say, is rock and roll, a clever pop-punk amalgam boasting two drummers, lots of chanting, and numerous B-movie hooks. Especially given Adam's art-schooled vocals, I find that the hooks grate, but that may just mean that when it comes to futuristic warriors I prefer Sandinistas. B