Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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David Thomas and the Wooden Birds

  • Monster Walks the Winter Lake [Twin/Tone, 1986] B
  • Blame the Messenger [Twin/Tone, 1987] C+

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

Monster Walks the Winter Lake [Twin/Tone, 1986]
David's in fine talk-show form on side one, peddling metaphysics and quoting dictionaries and wending his way through the associative title tale. The music follows along just right, and his monster postscripts are also fun. But side two is associative enough to make one wonder just how interesting one fellow's fantasy life can be. B

Blame the Messenger [Twin/Tone, 1987]
The nadir of Thomas's art-song mode, which reduces music to a setting for words and voice, both exceedingly eccentric for better and mostly worse, and also--ironically, as they say--encourages the autonomy of musicians who like most musicians are wise to follow orders. Even the humorous Velikovsky debunk goes nowhere, which is too bad--might teach David's fans something. C+