Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Royal Crescent Mob

  • Land of Sugar [No Other EP, 1986] A-
  • Omerta [Moving Target, 1987] B+
  • Something New, Old and Borrowed [Moving Target, 1988] B+
  • Spin the World [Sire, 1989] A-
  • Midnight Rose's [Sire/Warner Bros., 1991] Neither

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Land of Sugar [No Other EP, 1986]
White funk that by some alchemy generates not only a groove, which is rare enough, but also the irrepressible fun every garage band pretends to think it's having. Two of the originals are up to the two covers, Slick James's wasn't-that-by-Kiss? "Love Gun" and the Ohio Players' long-time no-hear "Love Rollercoaster." Couldn't have hurt their karma that lead singer David Ellison cut an Ohio Player's lawn when he was a kid, and somehow seems fitting that first pressing they got mixed up at the plant with a Christian heavy metal record. A-

Omerta [Moving Target, 1987]
Although those who think all funk sounds the same might confuse them with, er, Cameo, unlike other umpteenth generation new-wavers they have identity to burn. Say they're '60s types hip enough to have learned their wacked-out anarchy from Pedro Bell's mid-'70s psychedelic cartoons. Partly because funk gets over on a groove more muscular than they can cut and partly because they put their all into a self-manufactured EP, only "Get On the Bus," which also led the EP, and "Mob's Revenge," for an ass-grabbing asshole and featuring a rousing "You're fucked" refrain, belong on their best-of. But their identity comes this close to carrying them over the top anyway. B+

Something New, Old and Borrowed [Moving Target, 1988]
The borrowed is the largely legendary Land of Sugar, now available only as a Play It Again Sam import. The new is a Richard Gottehrer-produced single, half generic white funk, half sui generis garage pop. The old is five cuts "live at the fair," though just exactly which fair is left unspecified. I smell a ringer right down to the wild cheers for the James Brown cover and the cries of "You suck," though the Led Zep cover and the vamp-with-intro about corn dogs and heat-vs.-humidity certainly do the concept proud. B+

Spin the World [Sire, 1989]
Bridging the modest distance between Ohio Players fans and Aerosmith-for-the-fun-of-it, they lock into their groove and don't give a single song away. Even the hardcore tribute "Stock Car Race" shows off their somehow unsurprising new command of the everyday detail: home for supper, love at a red light, five more minutes with a face you'd had enough of. One protagonist wants to design men's clothes and is on his way to Paris with E.U. in the Walkman. Another hates doing overtime and eagerly awaits the corporate apocalypse: "I'm on the bottom and I'm not afraid." A-

Midnight Rose's [Sire/Warner Bros., 1991] Neither