Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Contortions

  • Buy the Contortions [ZE, 1979] B+

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

Buy the Contortions [ZE, 1979]
Bohemias are always beset by ambitious neurotics who hawk their obnoxious afflictions as if they're the future of the species, which is why in theory James White's music is better without the words: you get the jagged rhythms and tonic off-harmonies without being distracted by his "ideas." But in fact the music is so (deliberately) stunted it needs a voice for sonic muscle, and James's lyrics do have a certain petty honesty and jerk-off humor. "I Don't Want to Be Happy" should separate the believers from the spectators quite nicely. B+