Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Au Pairs

  • Playing With a Different Sex [Human, 1981] B+
  • Sense and Sensuality [Roadrunner, 1982] C

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Playing With a Different Sex [Human, 1981]
For months I struggled to get with the commendable postpunk feminism and accessible quasifunk rock and roll of this gender-balanced quartet, and for months I failed. Only in person did I notice that gender symbol Lesley Woods had about as much to say now as Grace Slick did in 1967--more than you'd predict and less than you'd hope--and that on the whole they sounded like a bored Gang of Four. Dozed off during the climactic "It's Obvious." Which I found rousing anyway. Ditto for the album when I got home. B+

Sense and Sensuality [Roadrunner, 1982]
The renown of this sorry punk-funk gone pop-jazz is as depressing as anything in the annals of Anglophilia. Lesley Woods's line on free love is as priggish as the rest of her leftism and her separate-but-equal rhythm section couldn't make the earth move if one of them played tractor. Don't blame me for the metaphor, either--it's Lesley's, by way of famed protofeminist E. Hemingway, which proves that she's either open-minded or just plain dumb. Not since the Stranglers has a Brit group sexed it up so unconvincingly. C