Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Wailing Ultimate [Homestead, 1987]
As long as you don't take the hooks too literally--believe me, there aren't many more where they come from--this is a pretty fair introduction to garage postnihilism, a surprisingly palatable mix of musical and sociological interest. Just like the grooveful laborers on a reggae or hardcore compilation, Gerry's kids hold together for the kind of continuous listen most local/label samplers can't sustain. In fact, only their fans and their mothers could tell most of these fourteen bands apart without a scorecard, and I'm not so sure about their mothers. Mrs. Petkovic: "I liked that song you did about the well." John P.: "How could that be ours, mama? A girl sings it." Mrs. P.: "Isn't Samantha a girl?" John P.: "Ma, we're called Death of Samantha--Death of Samantha." Mrs. P.: "Oh Johnny, she's not really dead. That's just, what do you call it, poetic license, right?" B+