Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Have Moicy 2: The Hoodoo Bash [Red Newt, 2015]
Neither the elusive Michael Hurley (b. 1941) nor the departed Jeffrey Frederick (b. 1950) found it possible to join the irrepressible Peter Stampfel (b. 1938) on his 40-years-after bid to reprise if not match the accidental masterpiece Have Moicy! Gamely if haltingly, reprise it he and his new gang do, but match it they of course can't--that's how masterpieces are. Instead they put its grace and luck into relief as they make hay of their own gravelly melodicism and unsynchronized stick-to-it-iveness. How young the originals were! (Jeffrey Lewis, kingpin of Have Moicy 2's kid contingent, is three years older than Stampfel was in 1975.) How casually apolitical, too! (Hippie was over and the oil crisis permanent, but no one foresaw the ruin yet to be wreaked by Ayn Rand, Ronald Reagan, Al Qaeda, and the Black-Scholes formula.) By comparison, the vocals here tend creaky--Stampfel can no longer break wine glasses with his yodel, Baby Gramps's Aged-P wheeze comes all too naturally, Robin Remaily is the grumpy old man he was born to be, and even Lewis could stand to gargle. And where the originals griped about dirty dishes, cunnilingus interruptus, and the occasional ear on the floor, these guys find themselves historically compelled to explicitly protest a vile lung disease, the theory of intelligent design, butts left cold, and again and again the class system that keeps old freaks down--so down that their idea of a joke is feasting on roadkill and rhyming "Victrola" with "Ebola." Which are good jokes, actually. Because believe it, folks--with the slacker utopia of the original gone but not forgotten, there are millions of worse things to settle for than this. In fact, there are millions on Spotify alone. A-