Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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  • Secondhand Daylight [Virgin International, 1979] C
  • After the Fact [I.R.S., 1982] C+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Secondhand Daylight [Virgin International, 1979]
If it weren't for the two great singles--"Shot by Both Sides" (available on Real Life, now also released domestically) and "I Love You You Big Dummy" (a B-side Beefheart cover)--I'd be certain this was the most overrated band in new-wave Britain. And given the grandiose arrangements, ululating vocals, and published-poet lyrics, I'm pretty sure anyway. Back in the good old days we had a word for this kind of thing--pretentious. C

After the Fact [I.R.S., 1982]
Everything you need and more from ex-Buzzcock Harold Devoto's pioneering foray into postpunk pretension. "Shot by Both Sides" was all too paranoid, "I Love You You Big Dummy" a prescient tribute, "Goldfinger" not as good as Blondie's or Peter Stampfel's but at least Howard recorded his. After that, you get the definitive art-twit. We hate you you little smarty. C+