Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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***1/2

LOOK DIRECTLY INTO THE SUN: CHINA POP 2007
Invisible China/Bloodshot

Industrial-rock drummer put together compilation of eighteen Beijing bands

Venture into a city to record unsigned bands, and what you get is a whole lot of nothing in no particular order. Don't assume this one is different because the talent scout is PiL drummer Martin Atkins -- who is also, after all, Pigface major-domo Martin Atkins. The reason is the city: Beijing, 15 million strong, a hub of the kind of thrilling, contradictory upward mobility that gets kids rocking. Most of the songs are by English-singing guys with guitars whom we'll call garage punk because that can mean almost anything cheap and catchy. Lament the three-song dip toward gothy sludge near the end. But get off on Hang on the Box's kiddie-femme "Shanghai," TooKoo's pushy "Take Me Home," Demerit's bish-bashing "Fight Your Apathy," even Snapline's pop-goth opener, "Close Your Cold Eyes." These eighteen bands are too excited to explore their contradictions yet. But that too will come.

Rolling Stone, Nov. 29, 2007