Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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True Sounds of Liberty: Beneath the Shadows [Alternative Tentacles, 1982]
Musically and verbally, TSOL stand between the high-school protest of L.A. neopunk and the collegiate lyricism of L.A. neopsychedelia. Wordwise this is half a disaster--their colors running into the sand are even less interesting than Black Flag's antiauthoritarian rant or the Dream Syndicate's postnarcissistic angst. It's only because of the lyric sheet that you notice, though--Jack Delauge yawps out catchphrases as passable as anybody's and pretty much garbles the rest. And while the musical synthesis isn't as formally sophisticated as that of the more fashionable new American sound bands, it's more direct, so robust and determined it blows all suspicions of nostalgia away. B