Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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  • War All the Time [Island, 2003] Dud
  • A City by the Light Divided [Island, 2006] C+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

War All the Time [Island, 2003] Dud

A City by the Light Divided [Island, 2006]
Working on the humane assumption that all screamo records can't be equally horrible, the reviewerati have singled out this big-ticket effort, produced by Sleater-Kinney-certified Dave Fridmann. Unburdened by theory, however, I find that its distinction boils down to slightly subtler tunecraft and dynamic range. At any volume, Geoff Rickley still sounds like the kind of young man who, when they change his prescription so it doesn't upset his stomach, suddenly becomes more optimistic. This happened, he says, and while it's understandable, it suggests the limits of his political analysis. Romantic, too: Toward the end he's emoting at the top of his lungs about love like a carousel and 50 decaying roses. Takes things hard, does Geoff. That's why he became an artist. C+