Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Suburbs

  • In Combo [Twin/Tone, 1980] A-
  • Credit in Heaven [Twin/Tone, 1982] B-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

In Combo [Twin/Tone, 1980]
I know it's endearing amateurism that makes middle America's new wave tick, but these Minnesotans think clockwork is fun--their music is glibly witty, even decelerating into a mournful country-rock triad to make a joke. Their scattershot, nasty-to-nutball humor is oblique or tongue-in-cheek enough to convey an undercurrent of empathy most of the time. And when they're comparing cows' feet to those of sheep, little empathy is required. A-

Credit in Heaven [Twin/Tone, 1982]
A band takes a chance when they follow up an offbeat but well-received debut with a double-LP and a lyric sheet--gives strangers the chance to get to know them. My considered conclusion is that for all his presence Blaire John Chaney is rather more affected than his quota of mother wit makes altogether seemly. His arch cynicism looks gratuitous up close, as arch cynicism usually does. Talented? Mais oui. Not talented enough to fill a double album and a lyric sheet, though. B-