Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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  • Shovel [Rough Trade, 1988] A-
  • Cooper-S [Rough Trade, 1988] B

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Shovel [Rough Trade, 1988]
One Melbourne fan says they're like standing too close to a moving freight train with a six-pack in you, and that's corny-to-classic enough to evoke their size and inexorability--a little slower and more old-fashioned than the IRT the Ramones/Dolls came in on, which definitely doesn't mean they're slow or old-fashioned. Just an art band cum power trio that's spent nine years perfecting its sonic wisdom. Jesus and Mary are wimps by comparison, Motorhead sellouts, yet in the end all three (all five) provide the same minimalist thrill--the one that's forever convincing us rock and roll will never die. You think maybe it won't? A-

Cooper-S [Rough Trade, 1988]
Most cover albums trip over their own roots--self-conscious simplicity is too neat a trick to bring off a dozen times running. These guys are adepts of self-conscious simplicity, so naturally they have trouble negotiating the radio classics that got them started. I mean, "Paint It Black" and "Street Fighting Man" have tempo shifts, man. B