Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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  • Lonely at the Top [Werkdiscs/Ninja Tune, 2012] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Lonely at the Top [Werkdiscs/Ninja Tune, 2012]
Although I enjoy an endless groove as much as the next Afropop fan, my Afropop-inflected taste in grooves means that when it comes to British dance music, I prefer my beatmakers rockish. So it finally is with Luke Blair, who on his fourth and least austere album ventures into songlike territory without ever enlisting a vocalist, although vocal sounds do enter the mix. The first three tracks evoke a Madchester DOR approach, only Blair's fuzzed-up, uninhibited textures, the first two incorporating treated chorales, have more character than most of the wasted singers on that scene. Subsequently, different sonic sets front each track. One thumps, one arpeggiates, one twinkles, one loops atmospheric, one loops bassy, and so forth. It's almost as if Blair has called in has-beens for cameos--here Otis Clay, there, I don't know, Brett Anderson. Not exactly, though. A-