Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Shirts

  • The Shirts [Capitol, 1978] C+
  • Street Light Shine [Capitol, 1979] B-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

The Shirts [Capitol, 1978]
Driving through the Bronx on my way from South Carolina to Maine, I heard "Lonely Android" on the radio and wondered for a moment if the Ramones were making an art-rock move. This gaffe was probably a symptom of homesickness, but it does indicate that on record, where Annie Golden's Broadway proclivities are invisible, this becomes a vaguely interesting (or at least eccentric) band--Focus gone CBGB without chops, kind of. C+

Street Light Shine [Capitol, 1979]
This is awful only on the big side-closers, and the occasional klutziness of the lyrics is redeemed not only by a winning sincerity but by improved (sometimes pretty) singing and composition--try "Starts With a Handshake" or "Love Is a Fiction." I might even want to play the end-of-the-world song for Chris Stein. Sincerity can be infectious. B-