Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

King Missile: The Way to Salvation [Atlantic, 1991]
John S. Hall wants you to believe he'll be cracking wise when the world ends, an event he once projected for 1992 or 1993, although now that he's on a major he's trying to push the date back. About time, I say--the major, I mean. Hall is completely word-dependent--when his imagination flags second half, so does the album. But it isn't just the consistency of the sarcasm that distinguishes this one. It's the way he's putting his hard-rock comedy, shaggy dog fables, and sophistical shit across. Rarely has a performance artist made a more forceful adjustment to guitar-bass-and-drums, or a college-radio band a tuffer adjustment to clean-yet-heavy. Credit indie engineer Lou Giordano for his postindie production, and Atlantic for its venture capital. A-