Mush-mouthed "gangsta rabbi" Steve Lieberman's Arbeiter at the Gate, at least his third album released in 2004, is a lo-fi sonic sock in the gut based around Lieberman's ultra fuzzed-out bass, multitudinous flute overdubs, and other sundry sounds. Certainly outsider music, there's no doubting Lieberman's sound is unique, but like such artists as Wesley Willis, it is also completely stagnant. However, where Willis' songs remain entertaining due to his lyrics, Lieberman's appeal is a bit harder to pin down. The few lyrics clear enough to understand are entertaining, but such clarity only happens once or twice per song. Still, these tiny lyrical snippets give an insight into Lieberman's life and bring the brilliance out of tracks like "A Dose of Viagra" ("Bought me a dose of Viagra/Now I know that life is hard/I didn't need a prescription/Just a Visa or Mastercard") and the All Music Guide office favorite "The A.M.G.," where Lieberman shows his gratitude for simply having a page on our website ("Looky, looky, looky, looky at me/I got me a page on the A.M.G.") by running through all the benefits we've been able to afford him ("They call me volatile") as well as an unintelligible verse about the All Music Guide listing for his album Jewish Lightning. One definitely has to be in the right frame of mind to listen to Steve Lieberman's output -- it is not for the queasy, nor is it for parties or driving. Mostly, the appeal of Arbeiter at the Gate, and indeed all of Lieberman's work, is the sheer and impressive fearlessness of it. Having not spell checked the title of his album (the correct spelling is "arbiter," not "arbeiter") is certainly the first indication of that.
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AllMusic Review by Gregory McIntosh