Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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  • Soft Rock [The Self-Starter Foundation, 2003] A-

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Soft Rock [The Self-Starter Foundation, 2003]
Nobody's gonna sit and listen for two hours and 20 minutes without even a chorus to ease the rush of words and riffs and bumpy beats--not unless they're working, like I was when I did. But the sheer bulk of these two CDs is their charm. Debut and singles and EPs andcompilation cuts, almost every piece of crap this Minneapolis four-piece ever recorded except an album that's less impressive for being better shaped, and not counting a few early losers stuck in back they form one pretty damn good song: postpunk noir at the economic margins, drugs and sex and rock and roll in that order, an epic best intoned in toto around a verboten communal ashtray in some after-hours den. Craig Finn spouts like a jaded Conor Oberst and tells his underworld tales like a slacker Hamell on Trial, whose fame he may yet match. I wonder how many he made up. That's the fun part, right? A-