Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2011-01-14


Best Coast: Crazy for You (Mexican Summer, 2010) Bethany Cosentino believes romance is a myth--not a lie, a myth, like Sisyphus. That's why she decks her deliberately simple tunes in echo effects that also obscure the specificity of her already multi-tracked singing voice, why "weed" is damn near the only concrete noun on the entire record unless that burning ball of gas in the sky counts. Musically, the idea is to recreate the Beach Boys' aura 50 years later. Thematically, it's to prove that she's a postmodern girl who knows better. The catch is that through all her generalizations it soon becomes clear that she needs that guy much more than a postmodern girl is supposed to. Too bad she can't pin it down and also can't pin him down. I blame the weed. A-

Deerhunter: Halcyon Digest (4AD, 2010) Smart young people have been telling me about this band since 2007, and I've been shrugging just as long. Give their big breakthrough a few plays and, unless you're the right kind of smart young person, you'll shrug too. Though you'll notice some tunes and also toward the end some committed tenor sax, and though there are those who praise its OK lyrics, it's still an arty indie-rock texturama. Only then give it more time than seems altogether fair and you'll find that this texturama has sufficient structure to assure that eventually the tunes and then the saxophone and then even the sound effects will signify and lift you up. Conceive it as DJ electronica that makes its point, starting all partial and halting before gathering itself to a properly modest climax. Except that it's played by a live band. And has OK lyrics. Smart, nothing--pretty darned intelligent. A-

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