Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Hoodoo Gurus

  • Stoneage Romeos [A&M, 1984] B+
  • Mars Needs Guitars! [Big Time, 1985] B-
  • Magnum Cum Louder [RCA Victor, 1989] B-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Stoneage Romeos [A&M, 1984]
"Tojo" and "Leilani" and "Zanzibar." "Death Ship" and "I Was a Kamikaze Pilot." Hiccups from Lux Interior and counterpoint from the Pink Panther and attitudes from Mental as Anything and rhymes from Danny & the Ramones. Those with no use for trivial pursuits can ignore this one, but if you enjoy the game when the fun isn't forced, these cheerfully maladjusted Aussies certainly beat what's been coming out of the bat-garages of L.A. and London these past two-three years. And if you want to read meaning and feeling into "Arthur" (who dies) or "I Want You Back" (which like "My Girl" isn't a cover) or even "Zanzibar" (a secret masterpiece, sez I), they--by which I mean the songs, not the band--won't spit in your eye. B+

Mars Needs Guitars! [Big Time, 1985]
This is tuneful enough if you give it more of a chance than it deserves, but it's no fun because it's not funny. Without a few sly laughs they're just a macho pop band, which is less than you can say of the Fleshtones, the Nomads, presplit Squeeze, or prime Mental as Anything, to name just four. B-

Magnum Cum Louder [RCA Victor, 1989]
One of the enduring kicks of college radio's minor-league "underground" is young believers and venerable adepts extracting something fresh from the same old fours. One of its nagging annoyances is headstrong faithful and professional guitarists claiming that competent variations on the truths they hold to be self-evident are brand new fun. B-