Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Persian Gulf

  • Changing the Weather [Raven EP, 1984] A
  • The Movie [Raven, 1986] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Changing the Weather [Raven EP, 1984]
Except maybe for Rank and File (who are bitterer) and Springsteen & Co. (who are grander), I can't think of an American band whose account of the world is more unflinchingly on. Conscious rather than correct, without a hint of hardcore's parricidal/misogynistic hysteria, these seven songs are constricted and expansive, sour and ebullient all at once. Hal Shows understands his own anarchic/apocalyptic impulses, and his Lennonesque rhythm guitar provides the extra momentum he needs to stay on top of things. A

The Movie [Raven, 1986]
Barking out lyrics loud and clear over an uncommonly forthright groove, Hal Shows led this band to a left-field EP debut two years back, and I wish he'd tried to repeat, because at album length his forthrightness gets out of hand. The world his best lyrics create isn't what the band's music makes it seem--it's an untrustworthy place where being a little crazy can help you get by, full of implicit regrets and sidelong insults and allusions that mean more than they add up to. But when he tries to spell things out in protest or satire, or boil them down into haiku, he seems less than a little crazy. B+