Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Jack Bruce: Harmony Row [Atco, 1971]
Contrary to rumor, this is not an Unjustly Ignored Work of Art. This is a Bad Work of Art. Bruce's music is, yes, well-made, dense and dissonant and throbbing (no one else in rock plays so much bass). But it's designed to support Pete Brown's lyrics, which are, arghh, overwrought, obscure and literary and clichéd (my favorite line, which I suppose may be a joke: "I trace your name in spinach"). I know, Brown has been disfiguring Bruce's work since Cream. But at least then he lightened up occasionally. And at least then his bad lyrics functioned mostly as vocal color for the instrumental interaction, whereas here they're enunciated in Bruce's forced art-song style and printed on a special page of the jacket. C+