Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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General Public

  • All the Rage [I.R.S., 1984] B-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

All the Rage [I.R.S., 1984]
Songcraft notwithstanding, I find that the (English) Beat's (debut) ska and (follow-up) panafrobeat albums wear better than their (farewell) pop album, and I'm sorry to report that Dave Wakeling's and Ranking Roger's new group turn a tendency into an avalanche. Although they've managed a unique sound within current English pop fashion, which makes do with unintrusive dance grooves instead of beat and melody, they don't break out of its rut. Their new rhythm section is no more an improvement on David Steele and Everett Martin than Wesley Magoogan was on Saxa. They place too much weight on lyrics that even when they escape modern romance simply don't deconstruct clichés the way they propose to (viz. "As a Matter of Fact"). And the breathy expressionism of their vocals is fast evolving into affectation. B-