Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2012-10-09


The Lijadu Sisters: Afro-Beat Soul Sisters (Soul Jazz, 2011) These would-be ingenues rarely go all the way. They don't always sing flat, but they always make you nervous about it, and both their consciousness and their English are pretty rudimentary for kin of Fela and Soyinka. Not nonexistent, however--unlikely as their guileless vocal affect makes it seem, how can a song that goes "We're cashing in prostitution yeah/Cashing in revolution yah" be anything but bitterly ironic? (Right??) This best-of isn't everything it might be--Mother Africa's "Iya Mi Jowi" would spruce it up substantially, for instance. But with producer Biddy Wright hooking them up, it's a minor girlpop treasure with a considerable difference. B+

Boban i Marko Markovic Orkestar: Golden Horns: The Best of Boban i Marko Markovic Orkestar (Piranha, 2012) Like Huun-Huur-Tu and Tinariwen, this is one of those how-much-is-enough bands. I've pretty much liked every record they've put out since I caught on with 2003's Boban i Marko, which was where flugelhorn prodigy and heir apparent Boban started getting equal billing in the brass ensemble he now leads. Did I learn to tell these albums apart? Not really. Replay them? Seldom. But after suitable reconnaissance I can make some distinctions for you. If you actively like Boban i Marko, this will be worth your while even though it scatters three keepers from that breakthrough among its own 15. But if you found Boban i Marko too raffish or disorganized, it may also be worth your while, because it comes down on tune where that one came down on the tipsy Balkan version of groove. I must have noticed "Khelipe E Cheasa" on Devla, but it never penetrated my recall memory, which is my bad. Relaxed, jaunty, and devilishly catchy, it leads their best-of because it's their best. The rest of the collection does what it can to keep on keeping on. A-

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