Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Galaxie 500

  • Today [Rough Trade, 1988] B+
  • On Fire [Rough Trade, 1989] B
  • This Is Our Music [Rough Trade, 1990] B-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Today [Rough Trade, 1988]
With their strained, murmuring Sprechgesang, half-speed raveups, and sobbing guitar, they evoke circa-"Pale Blue Eyes" Velvets so beautifully you think they're an imitation until you recheck the original. Instead it's like Today's supposed to be as soft and gawky compared to The Velvet Underground as that album was up against The Velvet Underground and Nico. Like Jonathan Richman, source of the sole cover, they're sweet young aesthetes who love the Velvets without making them role models. "I'd rather stay in bed with you/Until it's time to get a drink"--what kind of decadent is that? B+

On Fire [Rough Trade, 1989]
Who needs world-beat when indie darlings might as well be singing in Tagalog? I don't mean the words are physically or even semantically incomprehensible, either. Twinkies and decomposing trees and staring at the wall do break through the fog; motivated, I could probably construct a lyric sheet. But just like Lisandro Meza or Chaba Fadela, only not as well, what they produce for the curious outsider is a sound--halting, folk-psychedelic guitar signatures that establish each song's atmosphere. With George Harrison's "Isn't it a pity" the measure of their wisdom, verbal motivation isn't on the agenda. B

This Is Our Music [Rough Trade, 1990]
Look, all you young white people, I know fate has dealt you a shitty hand. Rent stabilization is a joke, safe sex isn't a joke, pollutants can really get you down, and forget the economy. Not to mention the decline of civility on our city streets. So if you just want to sit around and mope about it to each other, we understand. But if you're looking for a helping hand, you're going to have to reach out a little yourselves--that's just human nature. Show some get-up-and-go, crack a few jokes, like on the first song. As my grandpa used to say: "Laugh and the world laughs with you/Weep and you weep alone." B-