Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Steve Arrington's Hall of Fame

  • I [Atlantic, 1983] B+
  • Positive Power [Atlantic, 1984] B

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

I [Atlantic, 1983]
Funk vocals are so cartoon-defined you'd figure the bassist to end up with the real band after the split. But it must have been Arrington's parts of Slave's collective compositions that made them stick. Here he proposes nothing less than to modulate the nasalities, glottal constrictions, and Mel Blanc raunch of Ohio playing into an emotionally integrated--soulful, as the expression goes--singing style. Funnier lyrics would make the task easier. Likewise funnier bass parts. B+

Positive Power [Atlantic, 1984]
Arrington's bass does pop now, but whether you really get his funk depends on how well you connect with the way he turns the style's loony-toon vocals into pear-shaped tones. Me, I jump only for the synthesized-kalimba hook of "Young and Ready," and he chants that one. B