Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Rachid Taha: Made in Medina [Mondo Melodia, 2001]
The Steve Hillage-produced follow-up to Taha's neotrad U.S. debut takes the rai project of Arabic rock to a harder place. The beat's not rock or funk either, but that's just as well--one reason the powerful momentum, strong Arabic melodies, and guitar louder than you knew Gong-banging, Orb-gouging Hillage had in him sound fresher than anything I've heard from competing English speakers recently. Pure sound sensation--for those who lack Arabic, the vocal drama signifies masculinity in extremis, nothing more. So tell me, just how many other young singers are getting away with that saw these days? A-