Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Wussy: What Heaven Is Like [Shake It, 2018]
I was struck when the recently revived shoegaze "genre" came up in discussions of Wussy's seventh official album, because it evoked the only track of theirs I've ever disliked: the ethereal remake of the 2008 rock-with-xylophone?? EP track "Skip," where Lisa's deepened soprano whispers a lyric too fuzzy for a band whose turns of phrase pack colloquial bite even when literal meanings are gummy. The guitars tend more immersive than the echoing arena-rock of Attica! and Forever Sounds, proving that Yo La Tengo isn't the only great band addressing politics too painful to ignore by getting weirder. In the end, the intent is neither ambient nor calming, just dreamier than I'd prefer. So I'm glad I have no trouble attaching social significance to an opener that begins "Don't you wish you could have been an astronaut / Back when astronauts had more appeal," or to Chuck's pure-punk cover "There's Aliens in Our Midst." For we who believe heaven means achieving maximum humanity on the only planet we'll ever know, that's the way it feels now. A-