Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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  • Trouble in Dreams [Merge, 2008] Dud
  • Kaputt [Merge, 2011] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Trouble in Dreams [Merge, 2008] Dud

Kaputt [Merge, 2011]
With Daniel Bejar's latest band sound already compared to everything from Aja and Avalon to late New Order, I'll take, um--Pet Shop Boys! Forgoing the rock expressionism he lacks the heart or chops for, Bejar bends Neil Tennant's bemused calm toward an acerbic subtlety suitable for deflecting one's historical anomie. Mix in a smoove groove suitable for deflecting others' disinterest in one's historical anomie and you have intelligent lounge music for 21st-century depressives. The X factor is trumpeter JP Carter, who no one will mistake for Chuck Mangione because he's there not for jazz cred but to stick it to the guitars Bejar lacks the heart and chops to stand up against. This is how the pleasure principle feels to an alienated unbeliever resigned to engaging the world on his own perverse terms. B+