Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Wanna Buy a Bridge? [Rough Trade, 1980]
Rough Trade has become the biggest British postpunk indie by (or at least while) brooking no compromise politically or aesthetically. Politically this has led to idiot rant like the Pop Group's "We Are All Prostitutes"; aesthetically it's meant rapprochements with incorrigible art-rockers like Mayo Thompson and Robert Wyatt as well as the diddle-prone experiments of Young Marble Giants, the Raincoats, Essential Logic, and Cabaret Voltaire. But it's also provided such classic punk protest as Spizz Energi's "Soldier Soldier" and Stiff Little Fingers' "Alternative Ulster," and none of the above-named diddlers would have been taken aboard without a surefire tune or two in their packet. Hence this superb fourteen-single compilation, Rough Trade's first U.S. LP. Kleenex's "Ain't You" and Delta 5's "Mind Your Own Business," two of the finest postpunk forty-fives anywhere, do help. As do Scritti Politti's arty, political, hypnotic "Skank Bloc Bologna" and "At Last I Am Free," by none other than Robert Wyatt. A