Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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***1/2

LIVING THINGS
Habeas Corpus
Jive

Political St. Louis band led by a guy named Lillian

Living Things are proud radicals who direct their musical outrage at the direst current events--war, oppression, plunder. Yet stylistically they're retro, committed to an idealized '60s garage psychedelia stripped of blooze strutting and doped-out solos. Yoking their opener to an instantly hummable "Take to the streets and run with me," then qualifying that message by singing about the equally catchy attractions of backyards that rhyme with credit cards, they're hip enough not to worry about ideological consistency. In a way, in fact, inconsistency is a principle for them. Wordman Lillian Berlin murmurs more than he declaims and prefers to share vocals with members of a shifting communal entity dubbed the "Living Things Choir," and if that fuzzes up the lyrics, well, like most bands, Living Things are more into emotions than ideas anyway. It's just that their emotions are about the end of capitalism.

Blender, Mar. 2009