Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Front Bottoms: In Sickness and in Flames [Fueled by Ramen, 2020]
After a decade-plus of predicating his art on a changeable love life, now thirtysomething Brian Sella endures more romantic angst, thinks about it, and grows up, germinating a complex, changeable, catchy succession of songs that create the probably not altogether factual impression that his entire adult life has been one up-and-down hookup. "Everyone blooms in their own time," the opener begins. But in "Montgomery Forever," the permanence of this union is challenged by the demolition of the Jersey City housing project where they once resided--and also, well, that other guy she met. Yet soon enough "The Truth" ignites the invaluable axiom "You are the truth I choose to bend myself around." In other words: "I do it like that because that's the way my baby likes it," singing lessons included. So as the finale swears: "We're both going to the same place/Just at very different speeds." A