Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Rai Rebels [Virgin, 1988]
Lewd bellydancer music rocked by angry young men semi-improvising to a click track for producers who add the accompaniment afterwards--how could it not be great? Lots of ways, especially if you don't feel Algerian culture or speak Arabic (though any rock and roller will dig those gutturals). With its mad intensity and funkadelic guitar, "N'Sel Fik" may stand forever as rai's (and multi-instrumentalist Rachid's) one transcendent moment. Take the rest as a visit to exotic modern-day Oran, poised between old and new . . . B+