Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Golden Palominos

  • The Golden Palominos [Celluloid/OAO, 1983] A-
  • Visions of Excess [Celluloid, 1985] B+
  • Blast of Silence [Celluloid, 1987] B-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

The Golden Palominos [Celluloid/OAO, 1983]
This cacophonous avant-funk expedition was masterminded by master drummer Anton Fier for Bill Laswell's label (and basses, and on one cut scratching), and it's their pulse that keeps it going. But as an incorrigible content freak, I regard it as an excellent source of Arto Lindsay, who sings or plays on six out of seven cuts and helped compose five. It's not as funny or demented as the best DNA, but it's funny and demented enough that unless you liked DNA you probably won't consider Lindsay much of a singer or player. I never put it on at bedtime myself. A-

Visions of Excess [Celluloid, 1985]
As formal experiments go, this packs quite a wallop, and not just because a drummer supervised the mix--Anton Fier clearly loves and understands that much-mocked arena-rock megawattage. But a formal experiment it remains, because neither guitars not voices carry meaning of their own. Jody Harris has always had a weakness for the genre exercise (as has Mike Hampton, for that matter), and the five stellar singer-lyricists sound like they were brought in to finish the tracks. Even in arena-rock that's not how it's done. B+

Blast of Silence [Celluloid, 1987]
It was thankless enough conceptualizing arena-rock, so what gave Anton Fier the bright idea of adding country to the synthesis, as he probably calls it in the privacy of his own cerebration? Did he meet T-Bone Burnett at a party? Fight with Syd Straw about her roots? Or just think it would sell? Anton, get this straight: especially as you approach country, sincerity sells. Sincerity soulful, sincerity stupid, sincerity ironic, sincerity faked if necessary. Not this cold shit. B-