Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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David Lasley

  • Missin' Twenty Grand [EMI America, 1982] B+
  • Raindance [EMI America, 1984] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Missin' Twenty Grand [EMI America, 1982]
Great falsettos like Smokey Robinson and Clyde McPhatter flow uphill, while lesser ones like Maurice Gibb and Russell Thompkins settle for the formal panache and expressive limitation of acknowledged artifice. Lasley certainly doesn't flow, but he doesn't settle, either--his struggle toward full emotional range sounds forced at first, but then willed, which is different. Playing head voice for homosexual angst rather than love-man tenderness or androgynous affect, he sets his colloquial confessions to pristine studio soul backup completely appropriate in a concept album about a white guy in love with black music. But at times it does seem forced. B+

Raindance [EMI America, 1984]
The artiest love man since Eugene Record wasn't the next Dylan, Lasley adds a wonderful rap for "queers" and a terrible street-talk verité playlet called "Euripides Meets the Shangri-Las" to his straightforward sha-la-la lyrics and Brill Building grooves, with fellow Detroiter Don Was throwing in Linn drums and such. His falsetto has gained color and heft, too. B+