Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Arto Lindsay/Ambitious Lovers

  • Envy [Editions EG, 1984] A

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

Envy [Editions EG, 1984]
Shifting abruptly from funk to skronk to varying intensities of Brazilian pop, this may seem scattered to some, but I find its coherence riveting. I suppose what holds it together is Arto's persona--really more a sensibility, postmodernist humor coexisting with humanistic lyricism, which is articulated rhythmically but also in singing that ranges from look-ma crazee to wittingly sweet and unaffected. In this context both his fake-gibberish verbal-vocalese and his surprisingly detailed atonal strums (not his lyrics) sound like translations from the Portuguese. And "Let's Be Adult" deserves heavy rotation in every disco from here to Rio. A