Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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JESUS H CHRIST AND THE FOUR HORNSMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE
Happier Than You
jesushchristrocks.com

Sexually experienced Manhattan SWF seeks companionship--really wants to talk about it

Backed faithfully by an all-male septet that injects stealth hooks and four horns into its accomplished theater rock, Risa Mickenberg speaks for the neurotic women on whom neurotic men blame their problems. A satirist who aimed for laugh lines on Jesus's 2006 debut, she's both sharper and nicer here. Though "Liz the Hot Receptionist" is incurably dim, and anyone willing to stay on ice as Mickenberg's "Back Burner Guy" has only himself to blame, the missed connection of "Julie on the Fung Wah Bus" is a romance disguised as a spoof, and you'd have to be meaner than Mickenberg to mock poor Monica, the character whose answering-machine entreaties provide the entire lyric of "I'm Around." Mickenberg has the kind of cutesy voice that jerks find annoying unless it comes with porn skills. Non-jerks who go for the brains it masks stand a chance of being remembered as fondly as the lost love of "I Hope You're Happy."

Blender, Dec. 2008