Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2013-04-26

2013-04-26

Wussy: Duo (Shake It, 2013) Assuming these seven new-to-Wussy songs are de facto demos--for sure some and likely most but probably not all will be rocked up on a fifth album that now seems a certainty--we should think about not their acoustic settings but their acerbic subjects. No breakups here. Instead, three of Chuck Cleaver's lyrics address that other Wussy preoccupation, death, which invariably besets the kind of wacked-out and/or mean-ass loser who brains a monkey in the cheerfully entitled exception, "Ring a Ding Ding I'm Rotten Inside," while two of Lisa Walker's address yet another Wussy preoccupation, the failed consolations of religion. So her climactic praisesong to English girls who swim in the North Sea like it's summertime comes as a true relief, with Cleaver's piano tracing a delicate counterpoint. Inspirational Verse: "The Witnesses will all be waiting for the chance to be the first to squeal/As you're going through your souvenirs to help decide what is and isn't real." That's how I hear it, anyway. A-

Wussy: Rigor Mortis (Shake It EP, 2008) I underrated this EP five years ago because, having never seen the band play, I had no inkling of how much I'd end up valuing their live recordings--how much I'd love hearing two perfectly unmatched voices interact in the moment. The up-front redundancy of the title cut is now extended by the reappearance of the live "Rigor Mortis" and the formerly EP-only "Blood and Guts" on the free Berneice Huff mixtape. That said, I always thought the vibraphone-bedizened "Skip" was the choicest EP-only here, "Sweetie" squeaks and whooshes as it rocks out, "Millie Christine" adds a raw declarativeness one of their milder numbers thrives on, and "Airborne" is the finest version of their finest song, which leads their first and finest album. But of course, they're all worth owning. As is this. B+

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