Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Deee-Lite are a New York trio fronted by a ditzy idealist dubbed Lady Kier. PJ Harvey are a Somersetshire quartet fronted by an intense romantic dubbed PJ Harvey. Deee-Lite's Infinity Within (Elektra) follows up the cheaply made, synth-and-sample-heavy World Clique, sales of which bankrolled the live musicians on the new album. PJ Harvey's Dry (Indigo) is an all-live effort that Harvey and her guitar-bass-and-drum cohort cut for $5000.

I found World Clique light-headed musically and lyrically--Towa Tei's electro effects and DJ Dmitry's beats were more an idea about dance music than the thing itself, and Kier's utopianism was idle gossip from the global village. The Funkadelic alumni who underpin Infinity Within don't dominate or put their stamp on the music--they just ground it, and the group does them proud. Now the synthetic hooks and beats are fun for your fundament. And from the guest rant by the Disposable Heroes to the kinky safe-sex ad "Rubber Lover," there's bite in their message as well.

Although they tell interviewers their songs are funny, nobody will complain that PJ Harvey sounds frivolous--expressionism rarely does. The audio gets a little screechy, but they erect an impressive wall of rock noise anyway, and PJ's moody sexuality--sometimes slavishly obsessed, sometimes defiantly liberated--could definitely drag a fellow in beyond his depth. Still, I wonder what they'll settle into with the bigger bankroll that will no doubt ensue.


Fast Cuts: Sonic Youth: Dirty (DGC): Dirty thoughts, dirty deals, and dirty-ass rock 'n' roll, including a song about why you should keep your dirty hands off Kim Gordon's breasts--she just works here. Christine Lavin: Compass (Philo): She sings folk, she tells jokes, and she hates blind dates even more than you do.

Playboy, July 1992


June 1992 Aug. 1992