Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Elliott Murphy: Street Lights [RCA Victor, 1976]
This time I can't blame the production--if anything, Steve Katz's understated hard rock and adept background voices lend emotional weight to songs that would otherwise sound hopelessly immature. Murphy's voice has always been callow, but whereas two-and-a-half years ago he came across as a compassionate kid who reached out toward the world as a natural function of this self-discovery, now he sounds like an effete young man who strikes out at the world as a natural function of his self-involvement. The distinction is less than clear-cut, and perhaps too sharp to apply to an artist of such laudable moral ambition, but anyone who praises someone whose "wounds are open for the sake of art" (ugh! what a line!) has never heard the one about the heart and the sleeve. C+