Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Bizarros/Rubber City Rebels

  • From Akron [Clone, 1977] A-

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From Akron [Clone, 1977]
There's been a Lou Reed enclave around Cleveland since the late-Velvets days, and recently it's begun to produce musicians; maybe the real reason the Dead Boys left for New York was to avoid comparison with bands as smart as Devo and Pere Ubu. Even so, a self-produced album showcasing ten good songs is a pleasant shock. The Bizarros' deliberate discordances (including viola, lest we forget John Cale) are carried forward on surefire junk-rock riffs; mastermind Nick Nicholis has the hang of Lou's deadpan songspeech, although some of his mannerisms are otiose and the promising lyrics aren't worked as fine as they must be to sound natural. The stoopider approach of the Rubber City Rebels--"Gotta get a brain job/Gotta get it now/Gotta get a brain job/But I don't know how"--proves more foolproof. Alice Cooper sang about dead babies, these guys claim to eat them. The album seems to be in mono, with sound presence worthy of Andy Warhol, but it hasn't quit on me yet. A-