Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Kickin Mental Detergent [Kickin', 1992]
This 1992 U.K.-label comp proved so seminal that it spawned 1993's Vol. 2, which is merely less consistent, and 1994's Kickin Hardcore Leaders, which is scene specific to the verge of abstraction. And after trolling among competing fast-techno collections, I suspect the downward spiral is an omen. Early on, with label and movement still worried about being liked, songs of dread and abandon bedeck themselves with spoken-word hooks, lending their apocalyptic aura an illusion of coherence that squares can relate to, and aren't above other vulgar fripperies--layers of texture, sound effects, tunes. However impure they are counted by the small legions who have since undergone full aural immersion, they're as cleansing as claimed when approached from the other side--from the rest of music. A-