Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Dwight Twilley [extended]

  • Sincerely [Shelter, 1976] B+
  • Twilley Don't Mind [Arista, 1978] B
  • Twilley [Arista, 1979] C+

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

Dwight Twilley Band: Sincerely [Shelter, 1976]
These days I suppose anybody who can construct hook-laden pop-rock songs--half good, half-better--without schlocking them up qualifies as a walking treasury of people's art, like Taj Mahal. But because his natural habitat seems to be the studio (a forty-track when he has his druthers), this does smell a little like a museum. B+

Dwight Twilley Band: Twilley Don't Mind [Arista, 1978]
If the twelve-cut debut was notable for its songs, this nine-cut follow-up puts the emphasis on sound--a deep, rather eerie, yet undeniably pop sound that reminds me more than anything of the Flamin' Groovies' Supersnazz. And as with the Flamin' Groovies, the sound creates a distance between Twilley and his hooks. But even though I can make up neat theories about how Twilley evokes a comparable distance in the lyrics, I certainly prefer Supersnazz. B

Twilley [Arista, 1979]
Twilley's first two albums were marginally fascinating because of how obsessively he synthesized the Southern and British pop-rock traditions--like a cool Alex Chilton, or (only we didn't know this yet) a Nick Lowe who worked too hard--and because so few bands were bothering with the kind of catchy '60s-AM songs that Twilley turned out by the half dozen. Well, scratch the catchy part--both the Records and the Knack, to stick to the lightweights, have songs on the radio that cut anything on Sincerely, which is a lot catchier than this. And while you're at it, scratch Phil Seymour, Twilley's former rhythm section and harmony group. And add Jimmy Haskell doing Paul Buckmaster imitations. And think dark thoughts about the Raspberries and Eric Carmen. C+