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:

David Thomas and the Pedestrians

  • The Sound of the Sand and Other Songs of the Pedestrian [Rough Trade, 1981] B
  • Variations on a Theme [Sixth International, 1983] B
  • More Places Forever [Twin/Tone, 1985] B+

See Also:

Consumer Guide Reviews:

The Sound of the Sand and Other Songs of the Pedestrian [Rough Trade, 1981]
It's not as if the last two Ubu albums didn't hint at such a consummation, but it's still a shock to hear Thomas dive like a fat swan into the art-rock he's accused of by prole ideologues. Smarter and funnier--more talented--than all but a few of the (mostly English) eccentrics who write oddly textured pancultural songs with drums but no beat about birds, shoes, hairpins, and other "simple things," he ain't winging it. But he is more eccentric than one might hope. Interesting Note (to "The New Atom Mine"): "This song does not toast The Physicist as an individual or a class. Rather, it's an expression of appreciation for the publishing of exciting information." B

Variations on a Theme [Sixth International, 1983]
David Thomas leader-member was willing to have his ideas fucked with; David Thomas solo isn't. Maybe that's because the ideas have gotten narrower; they've certainly gotten slighter. His whimsies can be charming, his jokes are often worth a chuckle, and he couldn't ask for more sensitive accompanists than Richard Thompson and Anton Fier. Maybe someday he'll write a Peter and the Wolf for our time. B

More Places Forever [Twin/Tone, 1985]
How about that--it's Peter and the Wolf. Thomas is a cabaret artist now, more at home for better or worse with arty Euroswingers like Chris Cutler and Lindsay Cooper than he ever was with roots-rockers deep down like Richard Thompson and Anton Fier. For a while there, his whimsy seemed arid and forced. Here, once again, he's palpably "Enthusiastic." B+