Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  Expert Witness
Books:
  Going Into the City
  Consumer Guide: 90s
  Grown Up All Wrong
  Consumer Guide: 80s
  Consumer Guide: 70s
  Any Old Way You Choose It
  Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Writings:
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Playboy
  Blender
  Rolling Stone
  Billboard
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
  Recyclables
  Newsprint
  Lists
  Miscellany
Bibliography
NPR
Web Site:
  Home
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
  Archive
Venues:
  Noisey
CG Search:
Google Search:
Twitter:

Red Crayola with Art & Language

  • Kangaroo? [Rough Trade, 1981] A-
  • Black Snakes [Recommended, 1983] B

See Also:

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Kangaroo? [Rough Trade, 1981]
What the hell is it with radio anyway? A great concept album elucidating Marxist aesthetics and does AOR give it a shot? Nah--all we get is Stevie Nicks and AC/DC. So take my word for it. Not only could John Berger have written "A Portrait of V.I. Lenin in the Style of Jackson Pollock"--"They say it's art killed Pollock/As if that could be/In fact he missed a bend/And drove his Ford into a tree"--but he'd approve of the triumphant pseudo-operatic warble with which Lora Logic stretches out that last word (and no, Berger doesn't like the Essential Logic album either). Also instructive are "The Milkmaid" and "The Tractor Driver," twin parodies of capitalist idealism and socialist realism. And the Au Pairs and the Gang of Four are directed to the side-closers, both of which are dubious about romantic love and one of which is entitled "The Principles of Party Organization." Does it rock? Not much. Does it work? You bet. A-

Black Snakes [Recommended, 1983]
Here they extend themselves thematically, and while it ain't bad for what it is, what it is is arty satire--"Sloths" is smarter than "The Devil Lives in My Husband's Body," but if it were really smart I couldn't make the comparison. Lora Logic has flown, as is her wont, leaving Mayo Thompson to vocalize, with the result that the same song which nails Jackson Pollock on the first album leaves me feeling sympathetic in this version. To paraphrase Pollock: "An Englishman's an Englishman in thought and act/And you'd expect this analysis to be qualified by that fact." B