Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Eleventh Dream Day

  • Beet [Atlantic, 1989] C+
  • Lived to Tell [Atlantic, 1991] A-
  • El Moodio [Atlantic, 1993] ***

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Beet [Atlantic, 1989]
Only in a world where major labels have publicity departments and the Pixies are rock and roll future could this tuneless guitar band be a hot rumor. The major attraction is a girl drummer who chimes in on backup and should write more. Plus, of course, a raunchy, energetic guitar sound. No solos or anything--that would be corny (and hard). Just a sound. C+

Lived to Tell [Atlantic, 1991]
A notable guitar sound evolves into an undeniable band sound, roots/trad sonics (steel and slide under lead) and rhythms (buried hints of r&b strut and shuffle) just barely keeping their balance as Janet Bean (she drums, she writes, she sings tail ends and revs them up) punkrushes the show. Doesn't really matter that headman Rick Rizzo's vocals are strong-that's-all and Bob Dylan is too much with them--"It's All a Game"'s fed-up get-it-together and "Daedalus"'s dippy dream notwithstanding, these songs don't signify as songs, but as music. The band's alternative pigeonhole proves AOR guys are scared shitless of rocking out. And its anomalous clubland profile typifies an aesthetic fallacy that long preceded the naming of postmodernism. Really, folks, irony isn't the way, the truth, and the life. It's just hard to avoid a lot of the time. So don't cast aspersions on their sincerity. They're just doing what comes naturally. A-

El Moodio [Atlantic, 1993]
postpomo guitar heroes--not quite smart enough to be slow ("Makin' Like a Rug," "That's the Point") ***