Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Boyish New York City punk rock veteran salvages her long-lost career with smart, snarky club music

Twenty-five years ago, Adele Bertei was the androgynous gamine whose uncanny timing on a cheap organ made her the secret weapon of James Chance's punk-funk Contortions. Unfortunately, her eagerly awaited next move turned out to be a few forgettable club hits. But here she emerges from involuntary retirement to fulfill her promise with L.A.-via-London beatmasters Tommy Grenas and Len Del Rio. "Wild Winter" and "Way Gone Man" are as mean and angular as her old fans might dream. And though things chill out once they're done, she's become a crafty vocalist, and her bandmates have gifts in the electro mode she favored in the '80s: Try the Africanized "New Wildlife," or the Eno-fied "Ultraviolet."

Blender, Mar. 2005