Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Nightmare Alley/Bop Ramboe and the Ratbags

  • Victim Turns Blue/Ratbags on Parade [Weatherproof Stew, 1985] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Victim Turns Blue/Ratbags on Parade [Weatherproof Stew, 1985]
Ramboe used to be Nightmare Alley's rhythm guitarist, and since his Ratbags comprise bass and drums from his old band, I suggest he return to that position with expanded responsibilities. His postliterate wit ("When you got 'em by the balls you got their hearts and minds") and referential rock and roll ("Give My Regards to Broadway"?) are cut from the same cloth, and maybe if he and Frank Ruscitti traded vocals, making this an album instead of a double EP, they'd achieve that mysterious simulation of musicality that induces radio's overseers to program wise guys. Then again, maybe they wouldn't--Ramboe is pretty tuneless, Ruscitti pretty tense. B+