Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

American Music Club: Mercury [Reprise, 1993]
Unable to resist the excessive eloquence of new producer Mitchell Froom and the slam-bang fills of new drummer Tim Mooney, or else in a really crummy mood, Doyen of Depression Mark Eitzel wallows in it. The much admired epitome is "Apology for an Accident," where, among other things, he emotes the excellent lines "I've been praying a lot lately/It's because I no longer have a TV" as if nothing so horrible had ever befallen a drunk with too much time to kill. Unsurprisingly (although it was a bitter pill at first), "What Godzilla Said to God When His Name Wasn't Found in the Book of Life" isn't funny either. Oversinging and all, "Johnny Mathis' Feet" is. It's also the wisest thing on the record, which isn't to say it's wise in any absolute sense. That comes later, we hope--but don't necessarily expect. B-