Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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True West

  • True West [Bring Out Your Dead EP, 1983] A-
  • Drifters [PVC, 1984] B

Consumer Guide Reviews:

True West [Bring Out Your Dead EP, 1983]
The roughest, toughest band of the West Coast psychedelic whozis sound like caffeine is their drug of choice (or maybe speed) (and/or alcohol). On "I'm Not Here," with Frank French's diddleybeats exploding as big as Russ Tolman's guitar, the chaos approaches hardcore intensity with nothing left to speed. Even at their most songful--that's right, songful--the shit's pretty loud. Songful about what, you wonder. Displacement, more or less. And playing so loud you don't care. A-

Drifters [PVC, 1984]
They're still loud, they're still songful, but the balance is now so cautious that their elegiac, hard-driving Television-goes-country-rock wins this month's Trouser Press Memorial What-Does-It-All-Mean Award for Formalism, an eye-catching statuette of gilded virgin vinyl that looks kind of like an ear and kind of like a question mark. Blame it on the new drummer if you want. My guess is attrition, a/k/a maturity. B