Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Log 22

In "wide eyed fools," the first song on her fifth American album, Carol Van Dyk specifies her continuing identification with functioning misfits who "don't have much to show for life." That's her gift, and that's her curse. The college radio-heads who loved 1992's Palomine have settled into reasonable lives. They don't have the time or the spiritual resources to understand a "freak" who asserts, "Ever since the age of five/I was already aware of what's important in life." The incomprehension isn't Van Dyk's fault, however. Competing Brits and Americans (and Swedes and, please, Icelanders) should note this Dutchwoman's command of idiomatic English, so rarely awkward that its lapses are endearing. The first few tunes are instant, and all stay with you. And just when you thought her musicians were content to anchor a song band, they'll jam your ass off, alt-style: Seven minutes of "The Ocean, My Floor" could inspire Lou Reed to a cutting contest.

Rolling Stone, Apr. 17, 2003